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En Route: A Career Blog

Cover Letters – what you don’t know may hurt you

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: December 26, 2012 at 8:26 am

 

Given that many of us now look for employment online, we’ve come to believe that uploading a resume is the end of the matter. What you’ve accomplished, along with your skills, knowledge, abilities, is clearly spelled out on the document. What more could a hiring manager or recruiter want?

The truth is that many would still like to see a cover letter.

Surprised? According to an about.com article “Do You Need a Cover Letter“, this part of your employment package is still important.

Your Cover Letter is Particularly Important

In the article, Susan Heathfield, About.com’s Guide to Human Resources, states, “Your cover letter is particularly important. It’s the job searcher’s opportunity to help the potential employer see that the applicant’s skills and experience match what the employer seeks. In the current economic climate, with the scarcity of jobs, a well-written cover letter distinguishes your application.”

What Ms. Heathfield said is extremely important, so let’s explore further.

Key Points to Consider in Using a Cover Letter

1. It’s an opportunity to help the potential employer see that the applicant’s skills and experience match what the employer seeks.

This is critical. Hiring managers and recruiters are extremely busy, especially in this poor job market with so many equally qualified candidates vying for the same position. No one wants to spend hours or days going through a thousand resumes, trying to determine who does what.  If you provide the potential employer with a cover letter that spoon-feeds this information to them, they will want to read your resume.

The most effective cover letter is a T-style. That is, the middle of it is separated into two columns. The one on the left is titled: “Your Requirements” – the one on the right is titled: “My Qualifications”. You then present your case – that you are the perfect candidate for the position – in a visually arresting format.

2.  A well-written cover letter distinguishes your application.

You Have No More Than 7 Seconds to Capture a Hiring Manager’s Attention

Given that hiring managers and recruiters afford seven seconds or less to each candidate before they move on, you need to capture their attention quickly. Many resumes look and read the same. Cover letters don’t. They convey a sense of your personality that’s absent from a resume. Make that difference work for you. Show that you’re the kind of employee they seek. That you’ll work well with others. This can be conveyed in a cover letter by the language you choose to use and by focusing on what you can do for the potential employer, rather than what you want.

You can’t do without a resume in a modern job search. Nor should you forge ahead without a cover letter. Think of it as the synopsis on the back of a novel. It tells you what to expect. It excites you to the point where you have to read further. It gives you details about the product (in this case – you) so readers know what to expect and what they expect is a perfect fit for their organization.

At ResumeEdge, we have helped tens of thousands of job seekers to succeed. Our certified writers specialize in 40+ industries. They have real-world expertise along with stellar writing skills in crafting resumes and cover letters.

 

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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