The resume gets you in for an interview, but what gets that resume in the door? The cover letter. The cover letter serves as an introduction to a prospective employer, much like a handshake. Make sure that you make a good impression with your cover letter. If the cover letter is not a good one the process stops there. A cover letter is often overlooked, but is definitely something that needs as much consideration as the resume.
There is never a question of whether or not you need a cover letter. It is always necessary. Remember, first impressions are key. A cover letter is the first thing the hiring manager reads in the actual resume submission process.
Good cover letters will convey to the person reading it that you are in fact qualified for the potential position and send everything to the specific hiring manager for the position. That will be the person you need to follow up with later. A basic description of your personal experience that covers any qualifications of the specific job will make a cover letter stand out.
Being polite is crucial. Be sure to thank the reader for their time in reviewing your information and mention your experience in terms of their needs, not yours. Mention only your qualifications that best match the position for which you are applying. Show off your manners. Make your mom proud.
End the cover letter with an action plan such as you’ll follow up with them next Tuesday.
Bad cover letters will be impersonal and easy to ignore when you address the cover letter “To Whom It May Concern.” Put more time into it. Find out the name of the person handling this hire. Call around and use your resources. This will make a big difference.
Keep it simple. A cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page. Stay on subject and think of the letter in terms of the reader, not yourself. Talk more about things you can do for the company rather than only what you’ve done successfully throughout your career.
Negative information about the companies you’ve worked for or any layoffs have no place in a cover letter. Very little about your personal life also does not need to be mention. Remember, this is not a social networking site where you mention your wonderful spouse and awesome kids. You may just alienate someone immediately with that if they are having personal problems.
So you now have the information necessary to draft an intelligent cover letter that should not be overlooked. Start researching the companies you are interested in, locate the names of the people you will be sending resumes to and begin to draft your work of art.