Cover Letter:  Should You Include One?  Absolutely! – The Hire

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Cover Letter:  Should You Include One?  Absolutely!

If you are embarking on a new job search, you are probably wondering if a cover letter is a necessity when sending in your resume.

Surely, one of your efforts has been to breathe new life into your long-neglected resume.   (We also very highly recommend taking the time to clean up your social media profiles and to explore the benefits of professional career coaching.)

But, did you know that managers receive – on average – 75 resumes per position and typically spend mere seconds on each when sorting into the ‘KEEP’ or ‘DISCARD’ pile?

Don’t let your efforts go to waste (or, more succinctly, to the wastebasket).

One way to increase the likelihood of your resume securing the coveted position of the ‘KEEP’ basket is to include a compelling cover letter.  Note that the key word is “compelling”.  You want your cover letter to evoke interest and to give the hiring manager reason to give your resume more than a cursory glance.

Regrettably, this precludes a one-size-fits-all document – no matter how well-written –  that is then summarily attached with your resume for each position of interest. Rather, an effective, compelling cover letter requires investing additional time and energy for EACH position of interest.

Although this may sound daunting, be assured that it is well worth the effort.

And, by keeping the following tips in mind, it doesn’t need to be a daunting undertaking after all.

1.  Create a Template

  • Your cover letter should be professional (yet approachable) in tone; reflect your sincere interest, and be in the format of a formal Business Letter.
  • Be succinct. Use an active voice, with clear and concise sentences.
  • Customize your cover letter for each resume submission, using the tips below.

2. Be cognizant of formatting

  • Don’t over-crowd the page of your cover letter. Be sure to include plenty of white space – this helps draw the reader in and brings attention to your key points.
  • Put bullets to good use. Bullets help convey your message in an easy-to-read manner.

3.  Personalize the contact information

  • Take the time to find out the name and title of the hiring manager. Address your cover letter to this person.
  • If this contact information isn’t readily available via the job description, don’t immediately resort to the status quo of “Dear Hiring Manager.” Dig deeperLeverage Google and LinkedIn searches, your personal LinkedIn network, or simply pick up the phone and contact the company directly – the receptionist or someone in human resources will most certainly be able to help.

4.  Start strong

  • Open with a detailed introductory paragraph in your cover letter.
  • Specify the position (and company name) in which you are interested and how you learned about the opening.
    Eg., “I would like to express my sincere interest in the Accounting Specialist position at ‘XYZ Company’, as advertised on Indeed.com.”
  • Summarize how you are uniquely qualified for the position and how you are poised to make an immediate contribution to the company.
    Eg., “With 6+ years-experience as an Accounts Receivable Specialist, I bring in-depth industry knowledge, including proficiency in CostPoint; keen judgment; strong reporting and analysis skills; and a proven record of improving internal accounting procedures, which led to a more profitable balance sheet.

5.  Make it resonate

This is where the good stuff (and the extra effort we mentioned) comes in.  It is also where you are most likely to stand out.  Use the body of your letter to clearly show how your qualifications correlate with the position requirements.  An ideal way to do this is by using a ‘T Format’.  It’s called a “T Format” because it looks like the letter “T” on the page.  It is a fantastic way to give a quick snapshot of how you are prepared to fulfill their core requirements.

The left side of the “T” lists the most important requirements for successfully performing the job.  The right side of the “T” highlights how your skills and experience qualify you for each.
For example:
“Below, please find a side-by-side comparison of ‘XYZ Company’s position requirements and my qualifications.  I believe that you will agree that I am well-positioned to make an immediate positive contribution to your Finance department and ‘XYZ Company’ as a whole.”  

Position Requirements

My Qualifications

  • Important requirement #1
  • Corresponding, substantive detail of how your skills/experience qualify you to successfully fulfill this requirement.
  • Important requirement #2
  • Corresponding, substantive detail of how your skills/experience qualify you to successfully fulfill this requirement.
  • Important requirement #3
  • Corresponding, substantive detail of how your skills/experience qualify you to successfully fulfill this requirement.
  • Important requirement #4
  • Corresponding, substantive detail of how your skills/experience qualify you to successfully fulfill this requirement.

“I am confident that my experience and skill-set qualify me for consideration.  I have enclosed my resume and welcome the opportunity to meet with you for a formal interview.  I look forward to your response and the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to the continued success of ‘XYZ Company’ .”    

  • Close professionally

Most sincerely,

Jamie Jobseeker 

Jamie Jobseeker
Your LinkedIn Profile URL
Your Email Address
Your Phone #

  • Edit, Edit, Edit
    Be sure to carefully proofread your cover letter!

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