That’s a good question. At first I thought, I don’t need a cover letter. They’re a waste of time. Employers never read them. I wanted to put all my energy into a well-crafted, organized resume. But what I failed to realize is that a good cover letter is meant to introduce you to the employer. It’s their first impression of you. A good cover letter puts a human voice to your name.
A cover letter is a marketing piece used to get you the interview. So make sure you craft it to reflect your skill sets and capabilities for that specific job. I’ve listed a few tips below:
- Custom tailor each cover letter
- Be strong, confident and professional – the cover letter is a sample of your writing skills and how you communicate in a written format
- Make it personal – if you know the hiring manager’s name use it, if not skip the greeting introduction all together. I don’t recommend using generic terms like “To Whom it may Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”.
- Get to the point – Which position you are applying for, How did you learn about the job (this avoids the appearance of a mass produced cover letter)
- Research the organization and highlight specific ways your expertise can benefit the organization
- Match your skills sets to the job requirements
- Peak their interest so they want to learn more about you
- In closing, express your gratitude for their time and interest. Make sure to outline your next steps by stating when you will contact them to follow-up on your resume and the status of the job.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Resume, Resume, Resume, competition is fierce so you need to set yourself a part from the masses, and a good cover letter can do that very thing. It can get you one step closer to an interview.
So remember – a cover letter and resume go hand-in-hand. You don’t want to have one without the other.