February 14, 2013
ResumeEdge Explains Why a Cover Letter Is Essential
If Your Background Has Red Flags, You Can’t Address Them in a Resume
LINCOLN, Neb., February 14, 2013—No one has a perfect professional history. However, some will find that past layoffs or lengthy unemployment will prevent them from getting a new job.
“Hiring managers and recruiters are wary of individuals who have a spotty work history,” said Darlene Zambruski, ResumeEdge managing editor. “That’s why most prefer a reverse-chronological resume. Its format reveals job-hopping or employment gaps. That can be problematic, especially since you can’t explain them away in a resume.”
Jackie Ostrowicki, ResumeEdge President, further explains why some employers are reluctant to hire the unemployed. “A gap in employment can mean many things that aren’t always apparent. Perhaps the company closed due to economic conditions or the employee’s job was outsourced. That is perfectly understandable in this economy. However, the individual may have been fired for cause. Without a cover letter to explain the employment gap, a hiring manager may very well pass over a qualified individual.”
Job seekers also face problems when they have taken time off to raise a family or to care for aging parents. That type of situation is common but not easily explained on a resume. A cover letter, however, can be the ideal vehicle to minimize any fallout from a less-than-perfect background.
According to ResumeEdge, what matters in a cover letter is proving to the employer that you are the best candidate for the position, thereby downplaying any perceived deficiencies. Every aspect of the letter should be well-thought-out. Here are a few key points to remember:
- Use the hiring manager or recruiter’s name in the salutation. “Dear Sir” or “Madam” is too general, which shows lack of interest or laziness on an applicant’s part. It takes minutes to Google or call the company to learn the hiring manager’s name.
- Open with the targeted job. Never make a hiring manager guess what position you seek.
- Prove that you are a perfect fit for the position. A T-style letter will have two side-by-side columns after the opening paragraph. The column on the left will state “What You’re Seeking.” The right will state “What I Can Offer.” Your skills, knowledge and abilities need to dovetail precisely with the position responsibilities. A resume can allude to that, but won’t show it as graphically or as effectively as a cover letter.
- Address problematic areas that can’t be changed such as a job loss or lengthy unemployment. When you state that you were laid off from your last position, you can follow that information with how you gained new skills in a growth industry. You can explain how well you used your time while raising a family. Perhaps you earned your advanced degree or started a home-based business. This helps to overcome negative preconceptions.
- End on a proactive note stating that you intend to follow up with the hiring manager. Waiting passively won’t win you the job.
The certified resume specialists at ResumeEdge help create effective cover letters and are instrumental in connecting hiring professionals and job seekers. Job seekers can connect with ResumeEdge through Facebook, Twitter (@ResumeEdge_1) and LinkedIn. To learn more about LinkedIn profile® writing, resume writing, resume editing services and career resources, visit www.resumeedge.com.
ResumeEdge (www.resumeedge.com) is the leading provider of resume writing services online. The ResumeEdge website and resume writing blog provide industry-leading resources for job seekers. The company’s hand-picked team of resume writers specializes in 40 different industries to provide the highest quality resume writing and editing, cover letter and LinkedIn profile® services available. ResumeEdge has partnered with Yahoo! HotJobs, CareerJournal and Dice.com.