To Use Cover Letters or Not To Use Cover Letters?
The dispute about writing a cover letter is something that has been argued about longer than the Coke vs. Pepsi debate. In the eyes of some hiring managers, cover letters aren’t nearly as important as the skills listed on your resume. Alternatively, some companies require a written cover letter to explain certain aspects of your background. If you choose to write a cover letter, you will find it to be a major asset in the hiring process and can lead to opportunities that were not originally available.
In most cases, cover letters are the first point of contact between the job seeker and the potential employer. It’s imperative that the cover letter complements your resume but does not repeat information. The purpose is to highlight abilities that are backed with a factual resume as well as try to add a personal touch to the included information.
There are three main types of cover letters with similar goals:
Application letters – This correlates to an open job description
Prospecting letters – Asks about potential openings that are not currently advertised
Networking letters – Requests assistance or additional information about a job search
In all of these settings, the cover letter needs to be written specifically with the intended audience in mind. Form letters will not help you stand out but rather put your resume into the sea of applicants. Put some time into this, and make it relevant. Effective cover letters identify why you would be a great addition to the specific hiring company and implicitly mentions what skills would allow you to be a great hire for the individual opening you are interested in. They need to express a high level of interest in the company and along with a high level of understanding of the role.
Remember, just like a resume, the cover letter is a place to sell yourself. Don’t be shy about telling a specific story that illustrates your skills, or explaining an instance when you performed duties that would dovetail with the position you are seeking. Make sure each word has punch – make the hiring manager want to continue reading beyond the first few sentences. If you capture their attention, you may just have captured an interview.
Comment in the section below if you have any specific questions about cover letters or if you have any other proven methods that can be added to our list of instructions. And good luck!