Always attach a Cover Letter with your Resume – Photo Courtesy: Billy Brown
If someone were to poll job applicants about which is the most important document for them, the resume is likely to be their verdict. This answer is actually not incorrect, but did you know your cover letter is as important a document? Some job applicants do not put in as much effort in preparing a cover letter as they do in formatting their resume. This habit can hurt applicantsâ€™ chances of getting interview calls. The cover letter is a valuable document, and it is absolutely necessary that you give it the due it deserves.
According to a study conducted by a leading staffing service, more than 85% of hiring experts consider a candidateâ€™s cover letter when evaluating him/her. In case you donâ€™t attach a lot of value to the opinion of hiring managers, weâ€™ve got some disturbing news for you â€“ you are in the minority. According to the hiring experts, more than half of the resumes they receive are accompanied by a cover letter. The same trend is observed for resumes submitted electronically.
In case you do not know how to create a great cover letter, the following tips will come in handy:
Address the letter to the hiring manager
According to experts, it is a good practice to address the letter to the hiring manager and not to â€œTo Whomsoever It May Concernâ€. In case the name of the hiring manager is not disclosed in the job ad, you should try to attain this piece of information. One way of doing is by calling the company and asking the receptionist about it.
Research the company
Before applying, make it a habit to research the company to acquire as much information as you can about your prospective employer. You can use this information to good effect in your resume and cover letter by demonstrating in it how you can add value to the organization.
Explain gaps in employment
In case there are gaps in your employment history, use the space in your cover letter to explain them. If you took a break to do a professional course, it is necessary that you disclose this information as it shows that you were not sitting idle between jobs.
Keep your cover letter short
A cover letter should not be of more than a few paragraphs. So, list only the key points related to the job in your cover letter.
Show your enthusiasm
Convey your enthusiasm by mentioning something like this in your closing statement, â€œI will contact you next week to check your availability.â€
Do not just rely on the â€˜Spell Checkerâ€™ feature embedded in MS-Word or other Office applications to help you identify grammatical or spelling errors in the cover letter. Instead, read the cover letter at least two times before sending it. You may also consider asking a friend to proofread it after youâ€™ve done the same.
Paste your cover letter in the body of your email message
When applying via email, paste the cover letter in the body of the email message. Applicants who apply through an online job board should also add their cover letter to their resume. Online job boards have an option that allows you to do this. You must ensure that you select this option when sending your resume.
Author: Erik Larson is a masterâ€™s level career counselor and internationally certified as a Career Management Practitioner (CMP) by the Institute for Career Certification International. He also runs the site ResumeIndex.com.