Creating and Submitting Your Resume Package: From Cover Letters to Thank-You Notes
YOUR RESUME IS just one of the tools you will use to ultimately land a new job. This article deals with assembling the perfect resume package, which consists of:
- Your resume
- Your cover letter
- A personalized business card
- Samples of your work (if applicable)
- Thank-you notes
The key to creating a professional resume package is synergy when it comes to appearance and content: All the parts of the package should work together to create a greater overall effect. You should use the same paper, fonts, and typestyles when creating these documents.
Later in this chapter, methods of actually getting your resume into the right hands are explored. These methods include responding to an ad, networking, and taking advantage of career-related websites.
Writing a Cover Letter
One of the most common misconceptions among job seekers is that the resume is their primary marketing tool when looking for a job, and the cover letter is nothing more than an ancillary formality. In reality, your cover letter is as important as your resume when it comes to capturing the attention of a potential employer and selling yourself as a viable candidate for a job opening.
Because e-mail, faxes, and other written correspondence have become the primary methods of communication in today's business world, many employers rely on the cover letter to evaluate a candidate's ability to communicate in writing. Virtually all employers put great value on an applicant with strong written and oral communication skills. After all, a resume is typically a series of bulleted lists and short sentences, but a cover letter represents an actual writing sample.
Unless you first impress an employer with your cover letter, many HR professionals won't bother to read your resume. Thus, there's a chance your cover letter will be your only opportunity to convince a potential employer that you are a viable job candidate. Both the wording and the overall appearance of your cover letter should complement your resume.
Your cover letter should not duplicate too much information that's already in your resume. Use your one-page cover letter as a marketing tool designed to:
- Introduce yourself
- State the specific job for which you're applying
- Seize the reader's attention
- Pique the reader's interest
- Convey information about yourself that's not in your resume
- Briefly demonstrate your skills and accomplishments
- Convince the reader to read your resume
- Ask the reader for an action to be taken
Every cover letter should highlight things about you that are of direct interest to the recipient. Before sending a resume and cover letter to an employer, you must first develop an overall message and package to market yourself. This package should be synergistic.
As previously mentioned, the envelope, stationery, ink color, typestyle, and font should all match, and each piece in your resume package should work together to promote you—the applicant. Every aspect of your overall package can affect the decision to invite you in for an interview or not.