Run for Cover (Letters)

3 Mar

Job seekers – Don’t forget about the cover letter!  As people apply for jobs, it seems like 99% of the energy goes into the resume and I believe most are overlooking the importance of the 4-8 sentences you should be crafting for the cover letter.

Yes – you can use a generic cover letter as a starter for all of your submissions.  But, NO – you should not use that exact same cover letter for every job.

My Five Cover Letter Rules:

(1) Use a strong opening sentence

(2) Personalized it (make it about you and them)

(3) It’s bold – unique, different, a little risky versus the plain cover letter they’ll get from everyone else

(4) Be certain that it explains why your skill set is the solution to their needs (not their need to hire, but the needs of the job itself)

(5) Keep it short and sweet

A candidate of mine asked me today when he is applying for jobs – should he submit  a cover letter as a Word attachment with his resume, or simply use the body of the email as a “cover letter”.  My answer was a little foggy – “well, it depends…”.  If you submit a cover letter as an attachment, you run the risk of the hiring company skipping over your cover letter and just plowing into the resume – and potentially screening you out before reading your well thought out cover letter.  But, if you go the traditional route (submitting as an attachment), you have the opportunity to use the email to add an additional note.  I would suggest an action item like “Susan, it was great meeting you last week. I will follow up with a phone call on Friday after you’ve had an opportunity to review my resume.”

Maybe the answer is we need to submit both – include a “cover letter” as an attachment and cut and paste it to the bottom of your email as well.  Hopefully, they won’t think you are being repetitive, but recognize you’re just covering your bases (that is how I would receive it!).  Whatever you do, you are bound to be misunderstood or missed more than once, but keep swinging and someone out there is going to hire you soon. 🙂

Make every day count~ Drew Schmitz

One Response to “Run for Cover (Letters)”

  1. Interview James December 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Very inspiring job seeking information! Cover letter is very crucial in getting an interview.

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