With so many companies using scannable resume and online job application systems today, who needs a cover letter anymore, right? Wrong!! Having a good cover letter with your resume or job application can bump you to the head of the job candidate line.
Take a look at these 5 Reasons That Cover Letters Are Worth Using.
1. Cover letters allow you to address your resume/job applications to specific persons. Sending your resume to a head of the department that has an open job position or to the director of human resources by name is so much better than a “dear to whom it may concern”. If you do not know who to address your cover letter to, simply call the company and ask.
Even if the company uses an automated job application system that will not allow you to upload a cover letter, I would still find the relevant contact(s) at the organization and send them a paper copy of your cover letter and resume also. Going above and beyond gets you noticed.
2. Cover letters provide a perfect place to show how job description specific keywords relate directly to your experience. Grab a copy of the job description for the position that you are applying for. Highlight key skills and personality traits that the employer is looking for. Incorporate these keywords into your explanation of your qualifications for the position.
For example, I see that a Mortgage Banking Associate position is open today. The following keywords and phrases jump out at me when I look over the description:
Knowledge of Windows XP, MS Word, Excel, Visio, and PowerPoint, excellent interpersonal skills, excellent verbal and written skills, ability to organize, operate with minimal supervision, stay calm in high stress situations, and work overtime. Now, I can take those keywords/phrases and show in the cover letter how my experience and skills match these desired traits.
Please note that if you find that your experience or traits are not a match with all the keywords, never stretch the truth to make it so. If you profess you know Excel and have never used it, your lack of skill with that software will become apparent quickly.
3. Cover letters offer you an easy to skim format to summarize your skills and achievements. Employers generally get inundated with resumes when they advertise a job opening. The pile of resumes gets rapidly skimmed to pick out any promising job candidates. A well-written cover letter will make your information stand out.
4. Cover letters provide a great opportunity to demonstrate grammar and writing skills. Always be sure to have a least one other people review your cover letter and resume for you before you submit it to a potential employer. If no one is available to help you, read your cover letter backwards. This technique sounds weird, but it definitely helps you find mistakes.
5. Cover letters give you the gift of being able to thank key hiring decision makers for their time and attention right out of the gate. Never underestimate the power of a sincere thank you!
Quick cover letter design tips to keep in mind include:
- Hold your cover letter to one page.
- Put your cover letter on resume paper that matches your resume or in the body of a e-mail (not as an attachment).
- Never send a text with your cover letter to somebody unless asked to do so.
- Stick to the commonly used, readable fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman.
For more job search tips:
15 Places to Find Job Openings
Don’t Blow the Job Interview By Asking These Questions