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Agrimarketing : March 2008
March 2008 AgriMarketing 17 Last issue we discussed making a great first impression with your resume. While this is probably the most important way to get recog- nized by a human resource profes- sional, many people overlook the cover letter and the benefits it can provide to your job search. Your cover letter may not always get read, but in the instances that it does it can give you the competitive edge. Always include a cover letter when you send your resume, unless specif- ically asked not to. Cover letters can serve many purposes. Some of the greatest bene- fits include describing in more detail while you are a fit for the job; giving more in-depth examples of work experience; explaining any employ- ment gaps that you may have; expressing your personality; and ini- tiating follow-up action. FORMAT Each cover letter should be unique to the position and organization you are applying for. Each letter should be very clear as to what and why you are applying. Don't leave any- thing up for interpretation in the eyes of the employer. Be sure to address your cover let- ter to an actual person --- not "Dear Sirs" or "To Whom it May Concern." If you do not know who to address the letter to, you can utilize the com- pany Web site to locate the contact name or don't be afraid to contact the company's receptionist and ask for the right contact. Keep cover letters clear and con- cise. Don't worry about using fancy language and be sure that you include a way for the employer to reach you. Also be sure to use spell check and proofread carefully. CONTENT Your cover letter should not be a recap of your resume. You want to use it to highlight things that will make you stand out from the competition. Use the first paragraph of the cover letter to state your interest and give specific examples of your quali- fications for this particular position. Another piece of advice regarding content when talking about examples, is to use the same action words or sim- ilar words that are used within the job description. Using the same phrases and words can be a quick way to con- nect with the employer. Take a look at the company Web site and do some research about the organization, use the cover letter as a way to show the employer that you know something about them. If for some reason you have a gap in your resume, say you had a baby for example and took some time off. Your cover letter can help to explain that and also allow you to explain some of the activities that you did while you were away that may be applicable, such as partici- pating in a club as the treasure or on the fundraising committee. Also, be sure to address all the requested information in your cover letter, such as availability or start date and salary ranges. CLOSING This is where many people go wrong with their cover letters. In your clos- ing, don't use the cliché --- "I look for- ward to hearing from you." You need to show some initiative, ask them for an interview and then follow-up by stating when you would like to arrange a time to discuss the opportu- nity. Complete your letter by being as bold as to ask for the job. If you would like more advice regarding cover letters, please contact AgCareers.com at firstname.lastname@example.org. AM EVENTS Upcoming AgCareers.com Visit www.AgCareers.com for details Effective Internship Programs April 7-8, 2008 St. Paul, MN COVER LETTERS The Scoop on Recruiting Find out with the Compensation Benchmark Review (CBR)! The CBR is an innovative, online product that provides meaningful compensation data agribusiness industry. Why Should You Participate? The CBR is a cost effective tool that can provide your organization with a competitive advantage -- use the information gained to set you apart from your competition. How Do You Measure Up? A member of the Farms.com Family Contact AgCareers.com to get started. Phone: 800.929.8975 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.AgCareers.com
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