Resumes For Dummies
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Your goal when writing a cover letter is to attract interest and get employers to read your resume. These five qualities define a standout cover letter- a cover letter and resume that land in the short stack of keepers and not the discard pile -so incorporate them into your writing:
  • Write in vigorous, vibrant, and animated language that persuades rather than sedates. Use attention-nabbing opens to grab the reader by the eyeglasses and hang on tight.

  • End your cover letter using an action close (say you'll call) to position yourself for a positive follow-up. You lose face when you ask readers to call and they don't. "I didn't hear from you so, well . . . uh . . . ah . . . um." Note: An action close works in most circumstances, but not all; you wouldn't apply to become the White House chief of staff and tell the president you'll call to set up an interview.

  • Address your letters to individuals. Use names. Make an intense effort to find the name, correct job title, and address of the human being who will receive your letter.

  • Bait your letters with marketable skills and other benefits you bring to employers. Convince them that you have something they need and want.

  • Use postscripts to dramatize some bit of information too tantalizing for readers to ignore.

About This Article

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Laura DeCarlo was selected as the resume writing expert serving 54 national and international professional associations from the AMA to the ASCE. As the founder of Career Directors International, LLC (CDI), DeCarlo has developed a leading resource for the education and certification of resume writers and career coaches worldwide.

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