Do You Need A Cover Letter?

cover-letterYes! If done correctly, the cover letter can be equally as important as your resume in getting you noticed.

Your cover letter should…

  • Introduce you to the company.
  • Provide a snapshot of your skills.
  • Clarify and/or explain items missing or confusing in your resume.

Following is a breakdown of what you should include in each paragraph of the cover letter:

First Paragraph

Include the position title and position number (if any) that you’re applying to. The number is especially important for companies that fill hundreds of positions. Recruiters will search positions by number, not by title. Then, use the first paragraph to include your objective statement. By including your objective statement in your cover letter and not the resume you allow for more room for achievements on your resume. The first paragraph should be no more than three sentences.

Example:

Accept my resume for the position of Financial Analyst, #53425. I am interested in using my five years analyzing financial data in support of your organization. My intention is to continue expanding my financial knowledge as I move toward a management opportunity.

Second Paragraph

The second paragraph is where you include a snapshot of your skills as they relate to the job description. By including a snapshot, you’re encouraging the recruiter to want to learn more about you. Address only 2 or 3 of the most important job description requirements.

Example: (Tip: Be sure to include an achievement related to your qualification as well.)

 

Job Description Requirements My Qualifications
*5 yrs financial analyst                               *5 yrs financial analyst
Partnered with departmental hiring managers in forecasting and analyzing budgets
*2 yrs Excel including pivot tables         *5 yrs Excel including pivot tables
Developed an Excel spreadsheet for managers to track spending.

 

Third Paragraph

In this paragraph you’ll clarify or explain issues related to the resume. These issues might include gaps in employment, relocation, excessive commute, and being overqualified for a position. If you don’t take the time to explain these issues in your cover letter and the recruiter notices the gaps or that you have an excessive commute etc., your resume is going to get screened out.

Example:

In reviewing the job description, it mentioned that only local candidates need apply. As you can see I am currently living in another state. I am planning on moving at my own expense as soon as I obtain employment. In addition, I am willing to incur the cost to fly out for an interview.

Fourth Paragraph

This normally is a one sentence wrap-up. It doesn’t need to be a full paragraph.

Example:

 Thank you for your consideration.

Keep your cover letter to one page in length. Also, it’s acceptable to address the cover letter to the attention of the hiring manager if you don’t know specifically whom to address the letter to.

Remembering these tips as you draft your cover letter might just make the difference in getting your resume reviewed and you getting the interview.

For a checklist of what to include on your cover letter, Click Here

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