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Dear members, What is purpose of cover letter? What is difference between cover letter & resume? How to write a professional cover letter? Regards, Nikhil Sharma, Jaipur
Dear Nikhil,

Imagine you went to a restaurant which served a 2 course meal. And, they allowed diners to taste the first course and then determine whether they wanted to go ahead with the 2nd course.

In an oversimplified manner, that's the relationship between a Cover Letter and a Resume.

The Cover Letter is all about the Employer. Its an appetiser or a teaser for the employer to read and then decide whether or not they are interested in opening and reading the Resume - which is all about the Candidate.

So, remember:

Cover Letter - all about the employer

Resume - all about the candidate

An ideal cover letter MUST contain the following characteristics:

1. No more than 150 - 200 words in at least size 11 font

2. Fit into an A4 page that includes the recipient's address, salutation, sender's address and AMPLE white space

3. Succinctly communicate to the employer that the candidate:

3a. Has thoroughly researched the position being applied for

3b. Has experience, qualifications, behavioural traits, personality requisites etc for the advertised position

3c. Based on which s/he BELIEVES that s/he is the BEST candidate for that position (ALWAYS use the word 'Believe' NEVER use the word 'Feel')

4. Requests the employer to peruse the Resume for further details that susbtantiate the candidate's claims for the position and supporting evidence

5. Contains an electronic link to the candidate's LinkedIn profile (which should provide even further details than the Resume - both in width and depth)

6. End the letter with a confident and self-beleiving line such as "I am sure you have liked what you've read in this letter and my resume and are curious to meet me and know more. I look forward to meeting with you at the earliest mutually convenient time to discuss first hand how I can add value to the advertised position (mention the position here) at your organisation (name organisation here)"

So, in essence, a Cover Letter must whet the reader's appetite and arouse their curiosity which compels them to read the resume. And, remember, including links to one's LinkedIn profile on the Cover Letter and Resume is a very powerful strategy. It shows one's confidence about themselves and their transparency in transacting with others.

I am sure my answer has added value to your discussion. I look forward to other views on this post.

Take care and Kind regards,

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