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What is a Cover Letter?


Ever wish you had a way to give a prospective employer a concise, powerful summary of who you are and how your military training and experience makes you immensely valuable? You have it! A cover letter is an engaging, concise introduction to your potential civilian employer, and one of the most powerful yet under-utilized tools in a job seeker’s toolkit.

As a job applicant, the first obstacle in getting your dream job is getting your resume read by the right person. It’s safe to say you have a slim chance of getting an interview if the employer doesn’t look at your resume. The purpose of the cover letter is make a strong, yet brief, case as to why your resume deserves a good look.

Your cover letter should:

  • Be brief. Assume that the hiring manager is reviewing resumes all day, every day. Long-winded letters won’t be read. Say what you have to say, say it well, and say it fast.
  • Be specific. What position do you seek and how did you find out about the opportunity? Did someone refer you? Or did you visit a job fair? Sell the exact skills you have that they need for this job.
  • Be accurate. Demonstrate you’ve done your research. Address the letter to the correct manager, with the correct title and contact information. Spellcheck and proof read.
  • Be enthusiastic. Choose powerful words to describe what you bring to this position.
  • Be creative. Some applicants have opted to pull two or three qualifications from the job posting and draft a table or chart illustrating how they meet the specific job criteria.

The cover letter is the employer’s first impression of who you are and what you have to offer. Take the time to make it the best it can be.

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