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Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

If you have recently graduated, you are likely to be on the lookout for a job. This should start by thinking about what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to think big! Perhaps you want to be one of the top investors with APFC. Maybe you want to be the director of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Maybe you even want to be President of the United States! Setting goals and having dreams, believes Larry Polhill, is key to also being successful. However, making those dreams come true take a little bit more work.

How to Be Successful According to Larry Polhill

The first thing you need to do is write a fantastic resume. This is vital, but there is more to making a good first impression. No matter how good your resume is, there are likely to be hundreds of other applicants for the job you are applying for. And many of those will have an equally good-looking resume, but with years of professional experience. Your resume will never look that good, and it will always look virtually the same as that of every other college graduate. So what are you supposed to do? Polhill believes that the first thing you must do is recognize, and avoid, the three key mistakes:

  1. Not writing a customized resume.
  2. Not including an original cover letter.
  3. Not following up.

The Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter is absolutely vital. You must write something that is completely unique and that really stands out. There are lots of templates online, which you can use for inspiration, but which you should never simply send straight out. Your cover letter should build on your resume, making it abundantly clear that you are the right person for the job. It is likely that you will add the same things as everybody else in your resume, including:

  1. That you had a large class load but you still managed.
  2. That your GPA is above average.
  3. That you did lots of volunteer work.
  4. That you completed a great internship.

Those things are all very important. They are also hugely generic and, for an employer, boring. None of these things will make you stand out, but a cover letter will. Did you know that only about 25% of applicants bother to add a cover letter? This means that you instantly stand out from the crowd if you write that letter!

A cover letter only has around three paragraphs and is reasonably easy to write. It is a simple task to complete and one in which you give a little bit more details on those great things about you. Having an above average GPA despite a large class size is fantastic. Explaining what you had to do to get that GPA in a cover letter, however, is really impressive. Use your letter to sell yourself, and you will quickly find yourself invited to an interview.