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Chapter 24. The Professional Edge: Writi... > Onward and Upward: Resumés and Cover... - Pg. 282

The Professional Edge: Writing on the Job 282 · Arranging your recent work history in reverse chronological order would create the wrong im- pression (perhaps because you have been demoted, fired, or hopped from job to job). Cover Letters Like a resumé, the purpose of a cover letter is to get an interview. Although a resumé and a cover letter do overlap in certain areas, there are three crucial differences: · A cover letter is adapted to the needs of a particular organization; a resumé is usually adapted to a position. · A cover letter shows how your qualifications can help the organization meet its needs; a re- sumé summarizes all your relevant qualifications. · A cover letter uses complete sentences and paragraphs; a resumé uses short phrases. Tailor each cover letter to the specific company or organization. If you can substitute another inside address and salutation and send out the letter without any further changes, it isn't specific enough. Here's what to include: 1. 2. 3. 4. The major requirements for the job. Facts and examples that show how you can do the job. Details that prove your knowledge of the company. Qualities that employers seek: the ability to read and write well, think critically, speak effec- tively, and get along with others. Writer's Block If you decide to drop some names in your cover letter, only use the names of people who will speak well of you. Be sure to get prior permission from the person to mention his or her name. Some people find it difficult to write effective cover letters because they don't want to sing their own praises. My advice? Sing away. Good work rarely speaks for itself--it usually needs a microphone to be heard. Studies have shown that successful executives spend about half of their time on their job ... and the other half on self-promotion and office politics. To increase your chances for success ... 1. 2. 3. 4. Do your homework.Take the time to know the company or organization you're contacting. Know thyself.Be aware of what you have to offer. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Be prepared to show the employer that you can do the job--and do it well. Be real.Focus on your readers' needs, not yours. Make your qualifications clear and empha- size how you can use them to help their organization. Get a name.Call the company and find out the name and title of the person to whom to address your letter. Addressing a letter to an individual shows initiative and resourcefulness. It also helps make sure your letter lands on the right desk. (It can also help make sure the recipient keeps his or her mouth shut that you're looking for a different job!)