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A cover letter is your resume’s soundtrack. When you’re done snorting at such an outlandish statement (as well you might), I’ll argue that there’s something of use in that metaphor. An employer looks over the terse, chronologically structured list of your resume and gathers a detailed idea of what you did, and maybe a bit of how, but not really any why.
Now, please don’t get any ideas about mini autobiographies and epistolary studies of human motivation. What an employer seeks in a cover-letter is what professional connections and tools you believe you gained out of what you’ve done, and the way you talk about these tools. Your narrative gives a behind-the-scenes peek at the evolution of the person who did all that stuff on the resume, and and how he or she processed the experience. You’re setting the mood for how employers should look at the cold, hard facts . . . the way a soundtrack does for a film.
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