Do you really need a cover letter? My clients ask me this question on an ongoing basis. I offer a resounding YES! you need a cover letter. How can you even think about submitting your resume without one? What are you going to do, just email or send a resume over? You are certainly aware of “my jacket with no pants” metaphor, I am sure. Would you mail a letter with no envelope? No, because the letter would never make it out of your mailbox. This is the same thing.
Here are some tips regarding the value of a cover letter and why you should always send one when applying for a role:
Create a Connection:
There should be a connection between the resume and your cover letter. The letter serves as your introduction; and in some cases can present qualities and qualifications that don’t belong on the resume. The cover letter should engage the reader and focus on the most important information contained in the resume. This does not mean a cut and paste job. You need to engage the reader with thoughtful information in a way that guides an understanding of what you did. Specifically, reference things you are proud of so the reader gets a sense of who you are and what you can do.
Express Your Interest:
A strong cover letter will express your genuine desire to do the work and apply yourself in a new environment. Equally important is sharing information that will enable the reader to understand that you possess the traits, including communication, focus, and critical and creative thinking skills to add value in their environment. If you have a job description – great! You can use that to pull key information and incorporate details in the cover letter that will create an even stronger connection between what you offer and what a potential employer seeks.
Tailor the Cover:
Just like you cannot use the same resume to apply for every opening, you cannot use the same cover letter. Looking for a job is work. This does not mean that you will need to write a completely new cover letter every time you apply. It simply means that you want to make certain that the elements of the cover letter provide information related to the position. Consider including something you learned about the company that has prompted your interest. Corporate information is only a click away. If you are interested in the job, you should go the extra step to conduct some research; this will likely serve you well, especially come interview time.
Make sure your cover letter is polished and presented in conjunction with your resume. This means that the two documents should match from a layout and font perspective. Make sure the letter is error free; your sentences should flow in a meaningful sequence with a strong stylistic presence. Grammar and spelling is extremely important in all of your professional documents. Take the extra time and effort to ensure you are presented in the best manner.
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