Posted on jobtrakr.com
Last week we received an email from a reader who after reading one of our posts on resumes inquired whether it was necessary to include a cover letter if you have a personal statement/objective on your resume. After all they do more or less the same thing, right? Well, not quite.
Your personal statement is all about you, whereas your cover letter is all about your employer. Sending your resume without a cover letter is like saying you only care about your needs rather than the employer’s. It’s application etiquette, so make sure you’re in compliance.
Most recruiters and hiring managers would like to see a cover letter. They want to see written in black and white why you want to work in that particular role for their company. If you don’t say what they want to hear, then it’s on to the next one.
There’s a very easy way to work out what to include in your cover letter: look at the job posting. Treat the specification like a question that you are answering and exactly match your skills and experience to the job requirements. If you are switching careers and don’t exactly match what the job posting is looking for, use the space to make a case for your transferable skills. Keep in mind that your resume is factual whereas your cover letter should be persuasive. It’s a sales document; an attention-grabbing bit of writing to make the employer want to meet you.
Seven Steps To Cover Letter Success
- Your cover letter is your first chance to get your reader interested – what’s going to grab their attention?
- Always include your name and contact details in case your cover letter and resume get separated.
- Address your reader by name – never “To whom it may concern”
- Demonstrate your confidence, enthusiasm and self-belief in the first sentence. Make your reader want to know more about you
- Don’t start your sentences with “I”. Remember, this letter is for the employer, not for you
- Never go over one page.
- Double and triple check your spelling and grammar.
First impressions are everything, and this your chance to make a great first impression from the outset.