Friday, September 08, 2006

Using Cover Letters to Build Relationships

Today a client asked me to explain the differences between the resume and the cover letter. Many people assume that the cover letter is just a formality and simply something hiring managers and recruiters have come to expect. But the cover letter serves a much higher purpose. Job search is about building relationships and proving to a prospective employer that you are a good fit for the organization and someone who will forge a positve relationship with the firm. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to establish rapport with an employer. With a style that's less "formulaic" than the resume, the cover letter allows you to interject more about your personal brand and competencies and identify your reasons for career progressions, shifts, and detours. In a sense, the cover letter humanizes the process of search and lessens the tedium managers face when combing through a mountain of resumes. In addition, a good cover letter addresses the employer's needs and showcases the candidate's ability to figure out employers' problems and proactive solutions. So next time you draft a cover letter, think of it as a key "touchpoint" with a hiring manager, rather than a required form letter.


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