Monday, October 26, 2009

Resume Cover Letters

Since I am 21 years of age, fresh out of college, with businesses that I can run from anywhere, anytime, this is just about the only time in my life when I will have the ability and flexibility to move out to a mountain resort and work.  A friend of mine and I were talking about this when she told me about this amazing College Program that Vail Resorts has to offer.  I checked it out and found it to be so enticing that I couldn’t afford to pass up the opportunity to apply for the potential to gain experience working at a world-class ski resort like Vail.

Clearly being interested in their College Program, I applied. Knowing there are probably tons of people that apply to this program, I didn’t want my application to be generic. It also helps that I am the type of person that always strives to stand out, and to me, a cover letter is a great way to do so.

Now that we have established why we are talking about cover letters, lets briefly define what a resume cover letter is for all intents and purposes.  A resume cover letter is a pretty self-explanatory thing, so to spare you the misery, we’ll say it is simply a one page attachment to your resume.  In a nutshell, this document serves the purpose of expressing your interest in the position and introduces you and your qualifications to your potential employer.

The reason I like cover letters is because they allow you to manage your potential employer’s first impression of you as a job candidate and act as yet another way for you to distinguish yourself.  This is the reason why resume cover letters are so important. Especially with the current state of the job market, the need to for you to distinguish yourself to potential employers is more paramount then ever.  Besides, if you don’t use one, people like me will…so be mindful of that!

Since your resume cover letter is invariably the first thing that potential employers will look at, here are some questions you should ask yourself when crafting yours:

  • What do you want them to know about you at first glance?
  • What would you like to highlight about yourself? 
  • Do you possess any specific qualities or skills that the job you are applying for demands?  *Be sure to read the job qualifications and have them handy as you design yours
  • What makes you different then most?

Obviously, a resume cover letter is called a cover letter for a reason.  Here are some things you can include in the letter:

·     State which position you are applying for

·     Show why you are a strong candidate for the position

·     Explain how your skills and education relate to the job

·     Highlight some accomplishments

·     Thank the person for considering your resume

As promised, GREAT resources on resume cover letters:

Cover letters: types and samples

Click here for a great, FREE resource on Resume Cover Letter Tips.

Great article on the importance of resume cover letters from the Chronicle of Higher Education called What You Don't Know About Cover Letters

My intention is to motivate you to create a resume cover letter of your own and help you along the process.  What you find here and on around are guidelines and “best tips” that you should learn and customize to your style.  I tend to “Jeff-a-size” things a little more than most.  You will find a copy of my resume cover letter I made for Vail below to see what I mean.

It is also ok to be bold.  Some people feel more comfortable being bolder than others.  I have always liked to be different and so I add in the logo of the company that I am applying to in the cover letter.  For the resume cover letter I wrote for Vail, I was bolder than most writing, “I’m just the guy you’re looking for.”  It suits my personality though, as I like to have fun with everything I do.

Remember; use a resume cover page to distinguish yourself and highlight why you are a good fit for the position! And also remember to follow up!  Tune into to Success Advice Podcast # 1 on follow up for some great follow up tips and also check out tips for Successful Interviewing.  Good luck with your application process and job hunt!

Tune into Success Advice Podcast # 6 on Resume Cover Letters for an extra tip!

Questions?  Comments?  Blog with me!

P.S. - I start at Vail Resorts next Monday, November 2nd if you were wondering!


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