Chapter 15

Getting Attention with Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is (probably) the first thing the hiring manager will see about you, so you want to make a good first impression.

A great deal of rumor, myth, and legend exists about what makes a good resume and how to construct one to maximize your success in getting a networking job. For some reason, the cover letter is often ignored in this process. Effective cover letters present the link between the job's requirements and your background and aspirations. Although a resume states what you have done, the cover letter cuts to the chase and addresses why you are the right person for the job.

The cover letter has the following logic: “Here is what you said you want. Here is what I have done. Here is how it relates. Here's my number, so call me, maybe.” (Apologies to Carly Rae Jepsen.)

The goal is to get the cover letter and resume into the hands of the hiring manager. In a perfect world, your resume would tell the screener in HR, be it an internal or external recruiter or the applicant-tracking system, how good a fit you are. In the real world, the cover letter is your opportunity to spell it out for them.

Cover Letter Scenarios

At the highest conceptual level, your resume is fixed and you use the cover letter to express your interest and to explain why you ...

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