Why should you still include a cover letter when applying for a job? Imagine you are hiring for a position. You have a huge stack of resumes on your desk. How do you go through them and select the few you think deserve interviews and further consideration? One important tool to capture the attention of the potential employer is a solid resume cover letter.
A good cover letter should be no more than one page. It needs to include three basic sections. The opening should clearly state the position you are applying for, along with simple reasons why you are a top candidate. The body should then be your main sales pitch. You have to appeal to them and show them how you are different from others and why that’s a good thing. Then in the closing, describe what action will be taken next. For instance, you can say that you will contact them in a week to follow up.
A good resume cover letter shouldn’t be generic. It should also not be a summary of your resume. A resume cover letter is there to show the employer that you’re special and interested. Some tips to help your resume cover letter stand out include using quotes from past employers about you. You could include a sentence like this: “Jane Smith is one of the best employees I have ever hired.” Include the name and title of the person you are quoting, to give the testimonial more credibility.
You can also use your resume cover letter to show that you know how to research and be prepared. Do some homework on the company and figure out how to include a sentence or two that indicates the results of your research. A resume cover letter that shows you are thorough can really make you stand out.
One thing that should never be included in a resume cover letter is financial information. Don’t say anything about how much you’ve made in the past, or how much you expect to make in the future. If a posting requests salary requirements, the resume cover letter is not the place to disclose it. If they are really interested in you, they can call and ask.
When you are thinking of applying for a new job, the skill of cover letter writing is really worth taking a close look at because there are many people out there who spend a tremendous amount of time and effort perfecting their resume, only to speed through the process of cover letter writing. This is a potentially large mistake, as the cover letters are the first and sometimes the only things that a hiring manager will see about you. This is because there are many applicants applying for the same position at one time and how you express your interest in a position may just be all they need to know before deciding on an interview.
Unlike a resume, the cover letter has to be fine-tuned each time you send it out. A resume can be frequently printed in bulk; after you create and edit a resume, you can generally let it just be there for a little while before making significant changes to it. Cover letters, on the other hand, will change literally every time you send them out because they need to be tailored to the company and position you are applying for.
How will they change, you may ask? Just to point this out, you should always address each letter to the hiring manager personally. You should never use generic salutations like “To Whom It May Concern.” This is not just impersonal; but it also demonstrates that you haven’t taken the time to research the company to which you are applying. With the resources of the Internet, it is easy to find out the identities of human resource directors; so you should take a few extra minutes to find out some names, and you may be rewarded with a lucrative job in the end.
Chances are that you will be applying to firms that don’t all do the same exact thing either. When you’re writing a cover letter, you should tailor each sheet slightly to the company to which you are sending it because this is just smart sense. If you mention some specifics about the company’s product or staff members, you will demonstrate that you are interested in the company. This works by mentioning casually something that the company has done recently. Even better, if you’ve met or spoken with someone at the company before, a little bit of name dropping can not hurt you. These personal touches help considerably in the creation of winning cover letter writing.