Resumes leave a lot of room for interpretation in both style and content, however CVs do not. There may be a number of variations of CVs you may choose from, but when it comes to positioning yourself for an interview, you must rely on other means. If you are a dentist, you are stuck presenting your life experiences in the form of a CV rather than a resume. And if the purpose of the CV is to land an interview, your best chance of selling your appropriateness for the position is in the form of a cover letter.
A well written cover letter demonstrates to the potential interviewer that you have taken the time to consider his / her opportunity. It will project to its reader that you are a good match for their opportunity at hand and must be given a chance to interview. Before you write the letter, ask yourself several questions.
1. Do you really believe you would do well in the position? In order to answer that question, you should first do some research, either at the location itself, on the internet, through a college in already in their employ, or although a pre-qualifying interview with a representative of the firm. In that way, you will be able to learn something about the specific needs of the organization or office and make an intelligent prediction as to whether or not you wish to pursue the opportunity.
2. What makes you stand out as a candidate? Think about your strengths and weaknesses. Anticipate questions about your under / over qualifications and prepare a rebuttal. Put yourself in the reader's shoes and allow yourself to feel what he / she will feel about your background and education.
3. Would you provide the organization with something they do not yet have, specific expertise in an area they may wish to incorporate into their practice, ability to take on additional projects such as marketing or management, prior knowledge of the geographical area, terrific people skills?
4. Finally, availability often means a lot when there is a sense of urgency to open an office or add an associate. What is your time frame and availability? Are you flexible in your schedule. Are you able to relocate to a remote office? Are you already licensed to practice in the state in question? These are all factors that you might be able to lease to land the position of your choice.
Armed with this important information, you can now proceed to put together a terrific cover letter to accompany your professionally written CV.
First with the obvious. Be sure to address your letter to a specific individual. Know the correct spelling of their name, correct title, and address. Secondly, be sure to include how you learned about their opportunity. Take the information gained in the above exercise and with enthusiasm, begin to benefit sell your background, experience, personality and anything else that will motivate the individual to call you in for an in person meeting.
Expect that yours will not be the only application they receive, so be a little better prepared than the others. Use specifics (gained above) to demonstrate that you have given the opportunity some honest thought. Explain briefly why meeting and hiring you would benefit their organization. Now is not a time to be shy. Talk about your qualities that make you a great fit for their position. If possible, refer to their need to fill the position and your immediate availability.
It is advisable to keep the length of your cover letter to one page if possible. After all, that, along with your CV is an introduction to you and should not take the place of an in person interview.
Most importantly, let them know that you are extremely interested in meeting them and discussing further how you might assist them in reaching their goals. Ask for an interview and state that you will follow up with a telephone call in 2 weeks.
Remember, the CV and cover letter are only a first step in the process of landing the position you desire.