Its been a long time since I was involved in hiring an essentially entry level person, whose educational background is going to have as much influence on their fate as their experience. Having looked at a bunch of resumes and cover letters (which are much more important than anyone seems to be telling you all, if the letter is not a demonstration of good writing skills and an ability to respond quite specifically to my needs, I don't look at the resume). I think a word about the role of GIS in the world of day-to-day planning is in order.
GIS is a cool technology. Everyone who is coming out of school these days needs to know the basics, just like you need to know how to type, how many square feet there are in an acre, and how to read a site plan. But planning is about people. If you don't persuade me that you can facilitate a meeting (and eventually learn how to run a meeting with hostile folks) and that you can interact successfully with the public on a day-to-day basis, you aren't distinguishing yourself from others. All of the resumes we have received so far for the job we are advertising demonstrate GIS abilities, and all are about equal in quality, offering no real basis for a choice.
So, all of the letters and resumes that are trying to convince me that you know GIS are missing the point, especially in response to a job announcement that barely mentions it. I assume you can do GIS, its basic. What is going to make the difference is what you can tell me about how you communicate and interact with people.
I should also mention the need for applicants to know land use law, and know it thoroughly. It isn't as important as the people skills, but it is considerably more important than the mapping skills.