Steve Seeman, senior VP and director of human resources at PR agency Makovsky + Company, is amazed by the number of people who send résumés in to the agency without cover letters. “Is that how you would communicate with a client? Would you send a press release without a pitch?” asks Seeman. Cover letters are a must, and here are some tips from Seeman and Mindy Gikas, senior VP of human resources & recruiting at Ruder Finn, on making the most of what should be a great first impression.
Show that you’ve researched the company and the opportunity in the cover letter, says Seeman.
There’s a fine line between making a cover letter too long or too short, says Gikas. Keep it to two to three paragraphs.
Add something personal that you wouldn’t put in a résumé, suggests Gikas.
Gikas sees a lot of applicants getting creative with cover letters, like writing “DON’T PUT THIS LETTER DOWN.” Many times this tactic will get Gikas’ attention. “But remember, if you’re going to get creative, be really creative and compelling,” she says.
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