How To Write A Resume Cover Letter

Unfortunately, your ability to write a good cover letter could have a far greater impact on your ability to acquire a job than your actual skills, experience and education. These days, contacting a prospective employer consists of sending an email where the cover letter is actually the body of the email with the resume as the attachment. Simply put, you will either endear the reader to you or turn them off to going any further, which means your resume could end up in the trash without even a look-over.

A good resume should have much of the following elements within;

– Company name
– Job your are seeking
– Name of the individual you are sending it to
– Introductory sentence / small paragraph
– Career and accomplishments summary paragraph
– Sign-off with a request for an interview and include a time when you will be following up

Some notes to bear in mind while writing your cover letter.

So how do you help yourself and get your resume read? Here are some tips on how to write a good cover letter.

You don’t want the reader to feel like you are carpet bombing your resume all over town. Potential employers will warm to the fact that you share a mutual contact, that you’ve taken the time to research the company and know a little bit about what they do, or that you can articulate a specific need that your employment with them can fill or compliment. This has to be done in a way that isn’t too stuffy, but not too playful. Some light humor and insight can go a long way with connecting to the reader and show that you have some drive and smarts. Craft this paragraph to blend with the focus and business strategy or path of the target company. Don’t cut and paste anything!

Be specific about the job you are after, don’t make it a guessing game, and don’t be vague suggesting that you’d be happy to do anything that they have to offer.

Personalization can go a long way. What can carry a lot of weight is the ability to include something about a belief, motto or creed to which you subscribe. An example might be “One of the many reasons I want to work for your company is that in order to sell your product, one must be willing to work long hours and be resilient to criticism, something I learned a long time ago when I was working for ——- and it has always served me well.

If you are aware of the person to whom you are sending your resume, then find a way to include them in your introductory sentence / paragraph. Perhaps it is something that they’ve accomplished or perhaps they share something in common with you and that this is what piqued your interest in the company. If you are able to include this kind of content, make sure you don’t butt-kiss! That isn’t to say that butt-kissing doesn’t work, but you need and deserve to be respected, and one can last only so long in a job being a yes-person.

If you go the other way and try to assert your authority, keep in mind that the person(s) who read this likely know more than you give them credit for, and even if they don’t, no one likes to feel stupid or put in their place, especially by someone they don’t know, even if they deserve it. Be tactful, you aren’t perfect and neither is the company. You are joining the company ultimately to enhance the successes of the business and you’ll be part of a team. Any machismo out of the gate could suggest that you are difficult to work with or aren’t open to taking direction.

Make it short, don’t ramble. Get to the point. Chances are, the person who is reading your cover letter has numerous other cover letters to read, not to mention other things to do, so you don’t want to lose them in a pile of content that goes nowhere.

Proofread your work! Don’t make the newbie mistake and simply run your content through a spell checker, actually take the time to reread the text, multiple times if possible to make sure you aren’t missing the forest for the trees. For example, “wear” instead of “where”, a mistake in your cover letter that a spell checker might not catch.

At the end of the day, you want to be concise, informative, allow some of your personality to show through, and outline your importance to the company and your abilities that will make your employment valuable.