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Author: Lavie Margolin, Career Coach

A resume and cover letter are part of your campaign to advertise your skills, experience and qualifications for the job. Each employer is looking for someone that is a strong match for their unique needs. It is impossible to appeal to everyone with the same message repeated over and over. Let’s think of a large corporation. Are the advertisements they show in St. Louis, the same as the ones they show in Los Angeles? Are the ads that run on children’s television shows, the same ads that run during late night television? Of course not. They are appealing to the audience that is watching. Your resume and cover letter have to work in the same way.

In the world of advertising, you will never see an advertisement that puts to the forefront what features the product does not have. Have you ever seen an ad for a car that says, “Although we do not have satellite radio or comfortable seats…”or a water company with the following description, “although not the world’s purest variety…”? Companies know that if they list what is missing from their products, that no one will buy the product. What do companies talk about? The best features of their product that they do have. Too many cover letters feature the following phrase, “Although I do not yet have…”, if you do not have something, why are you emphasizing it? Write about what you do have that will be of interest to the potential employer. If you are looking for a job, then you are in the sales business. What you write in your cover letter and resume must most effectively sell the skills/experience/abilities that you do have as opposed to emphasizing those things that are lacking.

Always use a cover letter and not just a line or two in an email. Additionally, a generic cover letter is obvious to the employer. Take the time to explain why you are a fit for the specific position to which you are applying.

Use a three paragraph structure:

I Explains to which position you are applying, where you saw the vacancy posted (or better yet, who referred you), and why you are qualified. (3 sentences).

II Discuss your relevant experience, education and qualities for the position. Stay on target as to what would be appealing for the reader as opposed to a life history. (5-6 sentences).

III Express your strong interest in the opportunity. Explain why they would be the type of organization for which you would like to work. (2-3 sentences)


About the Author: Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Career Coach and the author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To learn more, go to Lavie’s website, Lion Cub Job Search:www.Lioncubjobsearch.com