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When you’re looking for a new job, you get a lot of conflicting information. Many recruiters today suggest that cover letters are outdated and no longer necessary for a modern job search. But cover letters still provide a lot of value and could absolution make all the difference in your job search. So, yes, you do need a cover letter. Here are some tips on how to write one.

What is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?

The cover letter is your first opportunity to provide information that will encourage a potential employer to contact you. It shouldn’t just be a restatement of your resume, but rather a profile of what makes you the candidate they want to talk to about their open job. Since most resumes are submitted as an electronic attachment, it also allows you to make a brief introduction.

Provide Info Not In Your Resume

This is a great place to include information that wouldn’t be contained on your resume. What are some things that make you a qualified candidate for this job? What would make you stand out from your competition? You can use some of the information from your resume as a jumping-off point to provide more detail, but don’t simply copy word for word.

Keep it Short

Your cover letter should be brief and easy to read quickly. Whether it’s a formal letter or an email, keep it to just three paragraphs. Introduce yourself, share that selling point that makes you stand out, and reiterate your interest and your contact information. If you make it too long, employers will simply not read it.

Name Drop if You Can

If you have any mutual connections, this is precisely the place where you want to put them. It’s okay to name drop, and it’s even encouraged. Mention the individual and how you both know them in the opening paragraph of your cover letter. This will personalize the information and give the hiring manager more of an incentive to call you.

Showcase How You Meet Their Needs

More than anything, it’s essential that your cover letter is customized for each employer and showcases how you meet their specific needs. Never use a generic cover letter for every opportunity. Review the job description and provide details about how you meet that criteria and why they want to talk with you.

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