Getting ready to head into the working world? You’ve probably heard that it’s important to have a great resume. That’s true, but there are two other documents that can give you an edge when looking for a job.
The first is a great cover letter. While a resume lists facts about your background, the right cover letter can give a potential employer insight into your personality and why you’re interested in the job. In a way, a cover letter can function as a pre-interview “interview.”
Most employers receive a lot of resumes and screen through them pretty quickly to determine which candidates are worth an interview. Having a good cover letter helps you stand out. Your goal is to write something that will make the person reviewing applicants stop and read it. That makes your first sentences important. Don’t start the way many people do, like “My name is Mary Jones and I want a position with your company.” Be creative and compelling.
The best kind of cover letters are the ones that tell a story about you and why you’re interested in the position. They can give you a chance to share unique information about your background and experiences, and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position and the company. Show the person receiving the letter what makes you different from the hundreds of other applicants.
The second handy document is thank-you notes. Sending a thank-you note to people who interview you or offer advice is a great way to help them remember you positively. You’ll stand out, because most people don’t do it. You don’t have to write anything lengthy. A short handwritten note thanking them for their time and restating your interest can work wonders. (Emailed thank-you notes are okay, but handwritten notes are far more impressive.) Either way, just be sure to send it promptly.