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Recent Response To Our Cover Letter Article

In a recent article I wrote about how *not* to start your cover letter. Our articles are frequently published on http://www.workbloom.net and as a result we occassionally receive comments. I thought this comment was a great one. We differ in opinion, but everyone’s experience is different and it is good to consider all view points. I really loved his alternatives and suggest you use them when/if appropriate. Please read below:

Jessica,

I’ve enjoyed reading many of your posts and have even incorporated several of your ideas and recommendations into the advice I’ve passed along as an executive recruiter prepping a candidate for an interview, as a résumé writer, and as a career coach. While you are right about how “not” to start a cover letter, I have to disagree with you on the suggestions you provided.

I’ve found that most cover letters are not read thoroughly before the résumé is read and then, and only if the résumé is strong will a hiring or HR manager go back to reread the cover letter. That might not entirely be the case when the letter is sent in the body of an email or as part of an online application, but almost always is if sent as a second attachment. We live in an era of bullet-points and people want to get to the meat of the matter. So the heck with the letter, let’s go to the résumé.

As a result, the letters need to capture the reader immediately and not threaten to hold him or her too long. The, “If you’re looking for…” or, “In today’s business climate…” kind of starts are looked at every day and make a letter too long. The writer needs to jump right into presenting a reason to make the résumé want to be read. It’s my opinion that the letter needs to be “all about you.”

These are a few of the alternatives I’ve suggested in the past.

“Throughout my professional history, I have built a successful financial management career with an emphasis in commercial banking. I have extensive experience in senior management including having held both the CFO and COO positions of a publicly traded bank with $4.5 billion in total assets.”

“Over the last 17 years I have worked for four companies without having changed locations, the last three each a successor to the previous three. With each change of ownership and company name, I was retained to assist with the transition during which time I was not only able to help the new company meet its goals and deadlines, but giving me an opportunity to prove my value and allow me to continue moving my career upward.”

Would appreciate your view point as well.

Hal

Best wishes in your job search!

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