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Resolution: The Dream Job

January 2015

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to find your dream job? You’re off to the right track if you’ve started the year reinvigorated from the holidays, ready to tackle a fresh round of resume revisions, networking and interviews.

This month's InnerView Career Q&A question addresses a common roadblock in a jobseeker’s search, fresh or not: whether or not to include a cover letter and references with the rest of your application materials.

Q: Even when a job description only asks for a resume, is it important to also include a cover letter and references?”—Stacey B., Chicago

A: Absolutely! It’s worth it to take the time to send a complete application—resume and cover letter, with references if applicable. Many times, sending just a resume or a template cover letter with stock phrases indicates that you’re applying for several different jobs at one time, which can make the hiring manager take you less seriously. As a result, you might be eliminated from the running before he or she even looks at your resume. Below, three reasons why the cover letter is critical:

1. A cover letter tells you what a resume doesn’t. A great one offers insight into a person’s experience, skills and personal life. Given that the information in your resume shouldn’t be repeated in the letter, it’s a fantastic way to share a relevant anecdote about a project you managed or a gift you procured.



Nurys Harrigan is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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