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Using Keywords in a Cover Letter

When writing any job application, keywords are an important issue. In a one page cover letter, (which is how long the cover letter is supposed to be) keywords for a cover letter may include a wide range of different options, even for the same job.

Keywords and Cover Letter Basics

The main reason for using keywords in any job application is the fact that all applications are now computer screened. The Application Tracking System (ATS) software now in use is quite efficient, and will create a profile of a job application based on the use of keywords.

This may seem to be a rather basic approach, but it is a proven nuts and bolts method of managing what may be a very large amount of data. The bottom line here is that the ATS may have to process hundreds or thousands of applications. It is simply not a workable option for employers to manage this type of workload manually.

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Keep your cover letter simple and to the point, max 1 page long. Employers don’t have time to read blocks of information.

The good news is that the keyword system does work reasonably well, and if you are a well-qualified applicant, the system naturally works in your favor. On the other side of the equation – You do have to recognize keywords and employer priorities to create a well written application.

This particularly applies to the cover letter, which is your opportunity to add to the information provided on your resume. Keywords in a cover letter are effectively fine tuning your application profile.

Which Keywords to Use?

This is a perfectly natural question, but the reality is that it’s a good idea to use as many keywords as possible. What really matters is information quality and content, and you can use keywords as both subject and descriptors in your cover letter.

For example, in a retail customer service job, there are a fairly large number of natural keywords which are easy to use in a cover letter:

  • Retail
  • Customer service
  • Retail sales
  • Cash balance
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Inventory.

This is just a small selection of obvious keywords. These keywords will be modified by the type retail trade, the type of business in which the employer is engaged, and the business environment. For instance, a boutique retail customer service job would not be using the same keywords as a supermarket retail customer service job.

All you need to do is create a straightforward narrative of your skills and experience, using the keyword systematically in the body of your text. This is pretty straightforward, and shouldn’t cause you any real issues when writing your cover letter. Simply include keywords as natural elements of sentences.

how long the cover letter is supposed to beAt a good idea to practice writing cover letters and including keywords to develop a level of fluency. Your cover letter will look better with smooth flowing language usage.

You’ll find that the process of incorporating keywords into your cover letter becomes a lot easier with practice.

Important –Please note that the quality of your cover letter is also a major factor in the success of your job applications. The better you are at writing cover letters, the more successful your applications will be.

Image credit: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/nerdscholar/2014/expert-advice-8-tips-writing-standout-cover-letter/

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