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Transform your cover letter for IT job search success

April 18, 2013

Writing a cover letter can be nerve-wracking. On one hand, these professional documents can't be generic; on the other hand, they have to be professional in tone. A strong cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and having your resume winding up in the rejection pile. In order to maximize your chances, follow these simple rules.

Don't skip the cover letter (usually)
If you're really excited about a job, making a career change, seeking a management position or applying for a junior role, you should include a letter. Otherwise, it may be safe to skip the cover letter for IT jobs (unless the job ad requests it).

What to include ... and what to leave out

What not do do: restate your resume. The cover letter is your chance to tell a story about yourself that helps create meaning out of your resume. You can focus on why you want the position or why you'd be the ideal match. It's also the chance to show you know how to communicate clearly and quickly. 

Do enough homework
Tech news provider Dice advised that IT job seekers should do their research before putting together a cover letter. This document should show you did your homework about the organization and industry you're trying to join, including knowing the hiring manager's name.

Go beyond technical skills

It's critical to have both technical and soft skills for many IT jobs, so don't forget to mention the qualities that make you human. Managers want to hire workers who communicate well with teammates, shine in brainstorming sessions and will be enjoyable to talk to before they've had their coffee.

Get assistance
Another strong option for applicants is to get in touch with an IT staffing firm. A recruiter will be able to tell a story about you to an employer that makes a cover letter unecessary. If an employer still requests one, your recruiter can give you valuable feedback to improve your letter and tailor it to the hiring manager's focus. 

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