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Anyone who has read a few of my articles will know that I do not place much emphasis on resumes and by extension cover letters. I am a big believer that the most effective job search strategies revolve around networking and using contacts to land interview opportunities. Nevertheless there is certainly a place for cover letters and resumes in this process. Of the two for my money the cover letter is the more important. Why? Because the cover letter is the approach. In relationship terms how many guys have ended up punting because they blew the approach? The best resume written with scintillating panache will mean nothing if the reader cannot get past the cover letter.
Make sure that you have written a new cover letter that is personalized for each and every prospective employer. This way you can avoid all the reasons why free cover letters could be the kiss of death for your resume. When looking at cover letter examples in a book or on the internet you should have a cover letter example checklist that you will use in deciding to use an example or not. Your cover letter example checklist will ensure that you do not send out a cover letter that will land your resume in the trash. As a job seeker if your resume lands itself in the trash you are in trouble because you will not land an interview nor the job. So make sure that you check over your example very well before using it. Most job seekers do not realize that prospective employers are actually looking for reasons within your cover letter to throw your resume out. After all they are seeking high quality employees. For the most part cover letter examples are just that they are generalized examples that can be used by anyone needing a cover letter. So keep in mind that it is only an example and that you can not just change around a few words and send it out as your cover letter. When you send a cover letter out like this you are taking huge risk that your employer has seen the same old cover letter countless times before.
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So make sure to change this to more specific information. Your cover letter example checklist should also be looking to see if your cover letter example is assertive. Your cover letter needs to be assertive and not passive. Your cover letter should from beginning to end be written so that it grabs the attention of the prospective employer and lands you that job interview. A passive voice is more than likely going to be passed over for a more assertive cover letter that another applicant sent in. So keep the voice of your cover letter to that of assertiveness and end with a request for an interview. Take the initiative to ask for an interview in the end. To do this in an assertive way you need to finalize your cover letter with telling the prospective employer when you will be making a follow up call with them to schedule and interview. Writing a good cover letter is not a difficult process once one learns how. The difficult part of a good cover letter is not falling prey to cover letter templates or boring sample cover letters. Even though these cover letters are simple to find and easy to customize (just fill in the blanks!) they are the worst remedy to a stressful situation. "Okay " you say "but how exactly do I write this good cover letter?" Unfortunately cover letter writing is not a skill that most school systems put an emphasis on.