While most job seekers focus on crafting the perfect resume that includes a long list of accolades, achievements, degrees and awards, many HR professionals agree a resume is not the most important aspect of a potential candidate’s application package.
The Importance of a Grand Entrance
Outstanding cover letters can turn a middle-of-the-road candidate into a top contender. Why? By its very nature, a resume is usually dry and fact based.
By contrast, cover letters for resumes show hiring managers an applicant is vested in the job they have available. Anyone can hit “reply” and attach a one-size-fits-all resume in response to a job posting. A cover letter written to specifically address a particular position shows an applicant has taken the time and effort to make a good impression. It also shows hiring managers a different side of an applicant than his or her resume does. Word choice and attention to detail in cover letters for resumes matter. These nuances can move a “reject” resume into the “must interview” pile.
Consider What to Include in a Cover Letter
Yes, the cover letter is your opportunity to show your personality. To an appropriate degree, that is. Hiring managers looking for candidates for high-level executive positions must cull through hundreds or even thousands of resumes and cover letters. A short, succinct cover letter can be refreshing. One that is too long, too detailed or too informal is a waste of time.
Crafting a winning cover letter that allows your personality to shine through, without being too wordy or including unhelpful details, can be challenging. Unless you are a writer by profession (and a really good one), consider hiring a reputable cover letter writing service to help you. At the very least, a cover letter writing service can help you craft a good “base” letter you can customize for each job you apply for. If you are in the hunt for a high-salary executive position, you’ve probably already hired an executive resume service to perfect your resume. Your cover letter needs at least the same degree of professional attention.
Do Your Research Before You Write
HR professionals, especially those hiring for high-dollar, premium executive positions, have seen it all. They have a knack for knowing which cover letters are form letters sent out to many potential employers and which have been carefully crafted with their company’s job opening in mind. Before you sit down in front of your laptop to create a cover letter, make sure you’ve done the following:
- Conduct at least a bit of research into the company so you can tailor your letter to fit in with the company’s corporate culture.
- Use active rather than passive words and naturally incorporate keywords into the letter that were noted as “must-possess” skills or attributes in the job listing you are responding to.
- Include specific, not-commonly-known facts about the company to show you did your homework.
If you’re launching a new executive-level job search or want to revive a floundering search, crafting a winning cover letter is key.