En Route: A Career Blog

Should You Bother Including a Cover Letter?

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: , , , ,
POSTED: June 29, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hiring managers routinely receive hundreds, perhaps thousands, of responses from applicants for any given job. To avoid having your resume sink in this sea of paper, it’s imperative to stand out from the crowd and make a good first impression. A compelling cover letter that employs five essential rules will convince a hiring manager to read an applicant’s resume.

Rule #1 — Appearance

The resume and cover letter must be aesthetically pleasing and consistent in appearance. This would include using the same heading and fonts in each.

Rule #2 – Target Your Audience

Always use the hiring manager’s name in the salutation. If the contact’s name isn’t provided in the job posting, a bit of Internet research or a well-structured phone call can produce results.

Rule #3 – A Strong Opening

A dynamic opening paragraph is essential to capture and retain a hiring manager’s interest. Pared down to essentials, for a quick and effective read, it should include reference to the position being sought and a brief statement as to why the applicant feels qualified to fill the job.

Rule #4 – Showcasing Accomplishments

Include a bulleted area to emphasize accomplishments pertinent to the targeted job.

Rule #5 – A Proactive Closing

Always initiate further action at the end of a cover letter. A proactive closing indicates that the applicant will call within a few days to see if a time might be scheduled to meet.