“Do I really need a cover letter?”
“All of my experience is listed in my resume.“
“As long as they check out my application, there’s no way they would pass up on someone with my experience.”
Sound familiar? If it sounds like a conversation you’ve had with yourself, keep reading for how this train of thought is derailing your career.
Whether you’re using Skillgigs’ bidding feature to facilitate conversations with top recruiters, or you’re playing it old school with your job search, your cover letter is your official first impression with a potential employer. Not including a cover letter could be a ‘make or break’ moment for being considered for the position. Don’t you want to give yourself every opportunity to get your foot in the door for an interview? We know you do. That’s why, in this brief overview, we’ll cover:
- How to write your cover letter (literally, how).
- Cover letter “no-nos”
- An example of a cover letter.
Let’s dive in.
- We know it can be tedious creating an individualized cover letter for each position you’re applying to, so it would be a good idea to create one good template that can be tailored for each job application. Tailoring your resume shows your recruiter that you put effort into your application.
- If you read our previous talent blog, Your Resume Needs Work, you know the importance of keywords. Most companies use an applicant tracking system, scanning thousands of applications for specific keywords. It’s important to make sure your cover letter also includes specific text that correlates your ability directly to the exact job requirements. Copy/Paste is your friend, so don’t be afraid to use that Ctrl+V. Match your skills and abilities exactly to the job position, as most recruiters are typically screening for a quick match.
- Keep it concise. As easy as it can be to talk about how great you are, it’s important not to get carried away with it.
- Do not attach two documents. Include your cover letter as your email body and attach your resume, or include your cover letter in your resume document (as, you guessed it, a cover page).
- Do not cut corners while writing your cover letter by using “see resume.” Be detailed about your background and qualifications in the body of your letter. When recruiter’s see phrases like “see resume,” they read “I’m spamming you and I don’t care if you call me.” This is why a good template is handy. Making small tweaks makes a huge difference to any recruiter.
- Don’t say “you” will follow-up with them, even if you do. You put the power back in the recruiter’s hands – which they like, and it takes the monkey off their back. Ask them to contact you, instead.
- DO NOT LIE. This should go without saying, but it never hurts to provide more clarity. While it is crucial to match your skills and abilities exactly to the job description, it’s important to note that your cover letter should reflect your actual skills and abilities. Don’t put something on your cover letter or resume that you actually cannot do or have no experience doing.
The part of the article you really came here for is here. Here is a quick overview of how to write a simple cover letter.
As intimidating as it can be, writing your cover letter really isn’t that bad. Setting aside some of your time to create a solid cover letter template that can easily be tailored for each job application can make all the difference for your job search. For a more comprehensive cover letter guide, download our free Interview Prep guide, or check out these in-depth guides from ResumeGenius and Zety.