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Cover Letters: Does Anybody Read Those Anymore?

By Jessica Holbrook Hernandez: expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

In a world where many job applications seem to disappear into a “black hole”, job seekers often wonder if there is any point in sending a cover letter with their application. The answer is absolutely yes! An effective cover letter communicates to an employer why you’re specifically interested in the open position. With so many job seekers indiscriminately applying for hundreds of jobs, your application will automatically stand out if you can demonstrate that you truly have a personal interest in a particular position.

Effectively explaining to an employer why you want the job requires you to cite those qualities and skills that personally make you a good candidate. Generally, the likelihood that you would be a good fit for the position is directly related to your relevant experience and education; for example, a CPA could perform accounting duties for any number of companies. But, telling a hospital that you’ve considered obtaining a master’s degree in health administration makes your interest in the job personal.

In an attempt to personalize their cover letters, job seekers often research a company by examining its Web site. While it’s good to know things such as what a manufacturing company makes or the volume of business a store does every year, including facts like these in a cover letter is ineffective. Hiring managers already know all about their own company; what they don’t know is why you’d be an asset to them.

Your willingness to write a cover letter confirms for the employer that you have a serious interest in a specific position. However, to be effective a cover letter should demonstrate your knowledge of the company by relating your personal achievements and qualities to that specific business. The people reading your application don’t know anything about you. Your cover letter needs to sell you as a candidate, while your resume supports your assertions with details.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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