In the eyes of recruiters and hiring experts working in executive search firms, a resume is an all-important document. However, there is another document that is equally important: the cover letter. Whenever applying for a job, ensure that you always submit a cover letter along with your resume.
Different cover letters for different situations
The kind of cover letter you should send with a resume depends on, among other things, how you have learnt about the opening. Discussed below are three cover letter approaches, one for each unique situation. Have a look:
Cover letters in response to an ad
If you learned about the job opening through an ad, ensure that your cover letters addresses the points listed by the recruiter in the job requirement section of the advertisement. The more points you address in your cover letter, the better your chances of selection.
Cover letters when referred by someone
If someone refers you to a job, ensure that you list this information in the very first line of your cover letter. For such situations, an impressive opening line could be something like this, “I was referred by so-and-so, who is currently working at your organization as this-and-this. Mr./Ms. so-and-so informed me about this opening, and he/she believes I am a good fit for this and should contact you directly.”
Cover letters for unsolicited resumes
When sending unsolicited resumes, it is important that you keep your accompanying cover letter short, simple, and to the point. Information that you must put in such cover letters include: the position you are applying for, your work experience, current job role, and your top qualifications.
The top six cover letter rules you must keep in mind
When formatting a cover letter, ensure that you keep the following rules in the mind:
Introduce yourself and mention your purpose
The introductory paragraph of a cover letter is very important. You should use this space for telling the recruiter about the purpose of your writing and for introducing yourself.
A cover letter should always be brief and to the point. Although there is no written guideline about the length of a cover letter, most hiring experts agree it should not exceed 350 words.
Your cover letter must be relevant to the job role you are applying for. If you are replying to an advertisement, focus on only those points listed in the job ad. Similarly, if you are writing a cold or referral cover letter, avoid giving a broad description about yourself.
Emphasize your top qualifications, skills, and achievements
Showcase your top qualifications, skills, and professional achievements in your cover letter. Things you could mention include, but are not limited to, a high GPA, a strong professional record, awards received from your employers, and unique skills relevant to the advertised job.
Do not exaggerate your experience or qualifications
A cover letter, just like a resume, must include information that is factually correct. You must ensure that every bit of information you list in these documents is truthful and accurate.
Edit your cover letter before sending it
Lastly, your cover letter should be well-written and free of grammatical/spelling errors.
Erik Larson is a master’s level career counselor and an internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. He was also recognized as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) through the National Board for Certified Counselors. You can check out his site at ResumeIndex.com.