It is time to revisit the importance of including a cover letter with your resume when applying for a job in this current job market.
Do you dread writing a cover letter? They are not easy to write well, plus you may have thought that creating a great resume was all that’s really needed. But remember that unlike your resume, your cover letter definitely will be read by another human being, not an applicant tracking system. Given that, it can be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.
Why you should write a Cover Letter.
It shows extra effort
Employers want someone who is going to go the extra mile. When you take the time to craft a cover letter that is exceptionally tailored to the position you are interested in, hiring managers will take notice.
Take the time to write a cover letter because others will not. Just knowing that you might be 1 of 50 candidates who actually submits a cover letter puts you ahead of the competition.
You are allowed to get personal
I like to think of creating resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles as being like wearing a new suit. Your resume is the suit jacket- you are buttoned –up and mean business. The cover letter is when you have taken off your suit jacket, a bit more approachable, but with an air of respectability. Next is your LinkedIn profile, all recruiters/Hiring managers go to your LinkedIn profile to see your activity and recommendations. LinkedIn profiles are when you have rolled up your sleeves. You can play a little in this state and have an aura of “letting loose” without going overboard.
A cover letter is the perfect place to inject some of your personality so the hiring staff can get a feel for who you are, rather than just what you can do. It’s a good in- between form the resume to your LinkedIn profile.
It shows enthusiasm
By writing a cover letter, you are sailing ahead of the competition. Your resume has shown the recruiter that there’s an actual person interested in the opportunity. With a cover letter, you’re taking the time to show that you have researched the organization you want to work for and are excited about this opportunity.
An effective cover letter should be tailored to the position you want and can include information that fills in the gaps for what hiring managers are looking for. For example maybe the job description says one of the responsibilities will be to manage the staffing process. You could add a section to explain how you’ve used your creativity in recruiting, hiring and retaining staff members who have shown longevity with a company. Or maybe you’ve noticed that the business you’re applying to values its ecological footprint, a topic you are passionate about. Include that in your cover letter.
Here is guidance that will help you create a document that will land you interviews:
Use the same header
However, you formatted your name and contact information on your resume, you’ll want to do it the same on your cover letter. That keeps it at the forefront of the hiring manager’s mind.
Austin, Texas 64.351.9492
I email@example.com LinkedIn: Mary- southern
Then, format the rest of your letter in a formal letter style with date, name of person, name of company and right- aligned.
It’s also smart to use the hiring person’s name when possible. If you do a little digging on LinkedIn or the company website, you may find the name so you can address your cover letter specifically to them.
Hint: It’s also easier to write a letter to an actual person, so whether you have a name or not, remember a person is going to read your letter. In the event you can’t find a name, then simply address your cover letter to “Hiring Manager.”
Short and sweet is key
While resumes often run two pages, a cover letter needs to stay at one page. In fact, the optimal letter is between 250 and 400 words. That doesn’t give you a lot of room, so you will have to be choosey on what you include and leave out.
Make sure to carefully read the employer’s submission guidelines. If they want a PDF, be sure to send it in that format. . Be on the lookout for other specifics in the job posting such as format, length , margins and content so that you can craft your cover letter to their requirements. It’s another way to show you are invested in them and want the job.
Also, NEVER submit your cover letter (or resume) without proofreading it. A few tricks that can help you catch errors are:
- Read your documents out loud
- Go line by line, starting at the bottom and working your way to the top.
- Have a friend read your cover letter and resume
Each of these suggestions trick you into seeing the words differently so your brain will not fill in blanks and fixes automatically.
One other tactic is to use lots of action verbs. For example, instead of writing “I was responsible for payroll,” change it to read, “I spearheaded a group of eight exceptional team members in the payroll department.”
It is fine to dread writing a cover letter. They are not easy to write well, plus you may have thought that creating a great resume was all that’s really needed. But remember that unlike your resume, your cover letter definitely will be read by another human being, not an applicant tracking system. Given that, it can be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.
I can help you write an awesome cover letter that will highlight your accomplishments and get you an interview.
Schedule a Free 30 minute consultation and let’s get your Cover Letter together https://cindyfassler.com/contact/