So which is more important, your resume or your cover letter? While some may disagree, after reviewing candidate credentials for over two decades, I stand firmly in the cover letter camp. Think of it like this, your resume is all about you and the cover letter is all about them. Which one do you think garners more time during the review process?
If you said the cover letter, you win! Consequently, it needs to be unique, confident and compelling! This is your format to showcase the specific abilities that make you a great candidate for this particular position. Your number one goal with the cover letter is to convince them that you are worth their time to interview. And you can do this by simply leveraging this powerful tool to show how you can make them better.
So where do you begin? While certainly not all-encompassing, a few tips are listed below:
Cover Letter Header Tips:
• Always include the date that you are applying for the position.
• If a recruiter name is provided, it should be referenced in your “Attention” line.
• If you can locate a phone number, including it here will make your follow-up easier.
• Include the position title in the header.
• If there was a job number referenced in the job listing, it should be included.
Cover Letter Body Tips:
• Develop a compelling opening statement that will grab the attention of the reader. And don’t be afraid of creativity!
• Highlight items from your resume that are applicable to this opportunity.
• Include relevant keywords unique to the position/industry.
• Explain why you want this position and how you can help the company be more successful.
• Share why you are interested in working for this company. Do you have family or friends there that have spoken highly of the company? Or do you appreciate their position within the industry? Or maybe they are pioneers in technology. Speak from the heart and share why you have “chosen” them as a potential employer.
Cover Letter Closing Tips:
• Always end your cover letter with a call to action, such as “I look forward to the opportunity to further discuss your position (specifically name it) and how I may make a distinct and immediate impact on your organization (specifically name their company).”
• Thank the reader for taking time to review your credentials.
General Cover Letter Tips:
• Spend some time reviewing cover letter examples before you begin to create.
• Send your cover letter as an attachment for online applications. This helps to avoid formatting issues that can occur when you copy/paste the letter into application portals.
• Consider sending your cover letter as a PDF to ensure the recipient can open it without struggling with a file conversion.
• Always create a unique cover letter specific to the position for which you are applying.
• Don’t use big words just to impress.
• Your cover letter should not simply be a regurgitation of your resume. Instead select experiences relevant to the position and share just enough information to “tease” them. Indicate that you can share more details when you meet.
• Save each cover letter with a unique file name which includes your first and last name and the position title.
• Double/Triple check for accuracy before sending to ensure all information is relevant to this application.
• Match the layout/design (or at least complement) your resume to provide a professional and consistent visual impression.
• It’s okay to be different and creative.
So, which do you think is more important, your Resume or your Cover Letter?
PS-If you are struggling with the creation of a cover letter template, check out the “Resource” page on my website at www.Kathimillermiller.com for links that may be helpful.