Bob Goldman

In this difficult economic environment, a job-seeker needs every advantage he or she can muster. It's just not enough to have a brilliant resume, a passel of personal recommendations and the willingness to work for peanuts. These days, you also need a cover letter.tched, third-world country. And at your salary, it's a lot less expensive, too.

It's called a "cover letter" because it "covers" your resume, or it did, back in the days when job applications were dashed off with a quill pen and hand-carried to the potential employer by a unformed envoy of the U.S. Postal Service. This is the electronic age, where a better name for a cover letter might be "cover e-mail." Or it could be called job-hunter porn, considering the passion with which most candidates approach a possible opening.tched, third-world country. And at your salary, it's a lot less expensive, too.

No matter how salaciously you word your cover communication, certain rules do apply, and that is the purview of Evelyn Salvador, the author of "Step-by-Step Cover Letters."tched, third-world country. And at your salary, it's a lot less expensive, too.

According to Salvador, the secret to writing a winning cover letter is personal branding. "If job-seekers learn how to brand themselves well and include their personal brand message in their cover letter," she explains," they can generally put themselves in the top 2 percent of candidates -- even in a tough economy."tched, third-world country. And at your salary, it's a lot less expensive, too.

If 98 percent of job candidates have indeed missed the concept of personal branding, you may actually have a chance of getting a gig. Still, this may not be a slam-dunk, especially if you are competing with generic, store-brand, Costco-type candidates -- who, let's be honest, will probably be a whole lot cheaper to hire than you, the high-priced spread.tched, third-world country. And at your salary, it's a lot less expensive, too.

But how do you determine your personal brand? It has nothing to do with your personality. That's good because -- let's be honest here, as well -- you really don't have one. Instead, you'll need to fall back on your "assets and features," or as Salvador describes them, "the qualities, attributes, skills and know-how you possess."tched, third-world country. And at your salary, it's a lot less expensive, too.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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