As the job market tightens even further amid a deepening recession, job seekers need to stand out.

Why not use a cover letter to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack?

Recruiters and human resources managers say it's surprising how many candidates do not include a cover letter as part of the application, even when one is asked for.

Consider submitting a cover letter even if one is not requested.

An effective letter can draw a recruiter to your resume. If done the right way, it also can showcase your initiative, creativity and writing skills.

One survey by Careerbuilder.com found that 12 percent of 2,546 hiring managers would automatically dismiss an application if it was submitted without a cover letter.

Other findings suggest that cover letters should not be computer-generated. Most hiring managers said they can easily spot a letter that is not customized for their company or open position. Nearly a quarter said they would likely dismiss a candidate if the cover letter is not customized.

Make it short, to the point and specific to the open position. Use the cover letter as a teaser to the resume, making reference to your accomplishments and skills.


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