Whenever one starts a job application process, one has to make sure that among the first steps taken is preparing a good set of resume and cover letter. However, usually, most of the focus shifts towards the resume only. It is written and rewritten again and again to make it all inclusive while still being succinct and powerful. No doubts, all this attention on a resume is warranted in earnest, but what surprises me is that so many job seekers take the cover letter very casually. Many a times, I have seen people adding a cover letter at the last moment, treating is as an ‘add on’ only.
I want to compare this process to a man getting dressed for a formal occasion. For a formal gathering, a suit and tie is the most common and accepted attire around the world in men’s wardrobes. So at an official function or a decent party, you’ll find these gentlemen wearing nice suits and matching ties. By way of color, most of the men don from the customary black or blue and sometimes from grey or brown. So what makes one or more of them stand out from the rest of others? For me, a good tie always catches your eye as it greatly adds to the grace of the suit worn.
Now what’s a suit and tie got to do with a resume or cover letter?
Resume is Your ‘Suit’
As explained earlier, a well written resume is like a well stitched suit. It should contain all relevant information about your strengths, qualifications and experience, if any. Most employers don’t have too much time to pay attention to each and every resume in detail, so a well written and relevant resume gets more attention from him than others. Just like your good suit would get a compliment at a party, the good resume would engage an employer more.
And the Cover Letter – like a Tie to a Suit – Adds Value to the Resume
A good cover letter should always accompany your resume, unless specifically told otherwise. Your resume includes all the factual information about your qualifications, education and other achievements or accompalishments. It is trying to justify your aspirations to aptly fit the advertised job’s requirements. And it’s all only about YOU. On the other hand, a cover letter gives you an opportunity to say something about the organization that you are applying to and also to explain how you are the perfect fit for it. It can enhance the effect of your resume, just like a good tie adds to the look of a suit.
I want to emphasize here the importance of researching about the organization you are applying to and learn as much as possible about them. Then in a telling paragraph, outline good and genuine things that you have learned about them. Believe me, the recruiting officer or an employer is likely to get more interested in you and the attached resume if he finds out you have taken pains to research them as compared to all the fancy fonts in your resume.
You will also now be more convincing in your claims that you will glide easily into the said job as you are deemed to be aware of what you are trying to get into. Remember the time when your nice tie got you more compliments than the guy next to you, even though he was wearing a suit from a fancy boutique on Madison Ave, NY but had spoiled the effect by wearing a tacky tie? So choose your ties carefully and write a good cover letter when sending a resume.