Cover letters – should we write them or are they a thing of the past? As online job applications streamline the process, the need for attaching a physical letter to your resume seems redundant, especially if your cover letter is just a rinse-and-repeat of your resume (spoiler: it shouldn’t be). However, in these changing times, cover letters still provide value.
Today, you'll find that including a cover letter is often optional. But, opting to submit one can significantly enhance your job application and help you to stand out. It provides a unique opportunity to emphasize aspects of your resume that may otherwise be overlooked. By going the extra mile and including a cover letter, you show the hiring team your commitment and excitement for the role immediately.
The Role of Cover Letters: Providing Context
The decision to include a cover letter boils down to context. A cover letter offers the chance to communicate what your resume doesn't. It's an ideal platform to address employment gaps, elaborate on specific metrics, skills, and experiences, and weave a compelling narrative of your career journey.
Cover letters allow you to break free from the constraints of your resume. They enable you to craft a narrative that showcases your commitment to career goals and aspirations. This is your chance to discuss your motivations, steps towards achieving your goals, transferable skills, and any obstacles you've overcome. They are particularly beneficial if you're considering a career change, allowing you to discuss your inspirations and transitions.
Writing a Cover Letter: Best Practices
Now that we've established the importance of context, let's focus on best practices for writing cover letters. A successful cover letter shouldn't simply repeat your resume; it should add depth and personality to your professional narrative.
Highlighting Skills and Experience
Your cover letter is a prime opportunity to elaborate on the key skills and experiences listed on your resume. Offer specific, industry-relevant examples to help the reader make connections between your qualifications and the job requirements.
By following these guidelines and strategically using cover letters, you can significantly enhance your job application, making you a more compelling candidate for your desired role. Remember, a well-crafted cover letter can be the difference-maker in landing your next job opportunity.
“During my time at [previous company], I oversaw a project that resulted in a 20% increase in overall company efficiency. This experience made it possible for me to hone my project management skills and overall showed me the importance of collaboration and problem-solving, both qualities I am eager to bring to [target company]’s team.”
Expressing Genuine Interest in Your Cover Letter
A cover letter can do more than show your suitability for a role, but it is also a great way to show your genuine interest in the company and position. Take the time to research the company’s goals, values, and culture, and include all you’ve learned throughout your letter. This will show your interest in and enthusiasm for joining the team.
“I was drawn to apply for the role because of [target company]’s commitment to innovation and community impact. My passion for [specific industry] aligns with your mission and I am eager to contribute in any way possible to lead [target company] toward greater success.”
Addressing Employment Gaps
Address any employment gaps or challenges in your cover letter. This can help turn drawbacks into opportunities to showcase resilience and growth. Be honest and transparent about your gap – whether you took time off to pursue education, cared for someone, or navigated challenges, these are all things you should explain in your letter. Use it as a way to show your resilience and ability to overcome challenges. If you have a gap, don’t sweat it. Our recruiters will advocate for you with the hiring team, and we understand that sometimes, life happens.
“During my brief break from the corporate world, I took the time to further my education. I also undertook any freelance projects to ensure that I continued to sharpen my organizational and time management skills. The time I took is incredibly invaluable and I think has well prepared me for the fast-paced environment at [target company].”
Think of your cover letter as the Robin to your resume's Batman. It's not just there for moral support; it's there to pack a punch. This little gem is your golden ticket to storytelling glory – a chance to jazz up the facts on your resume. It's like your personal spotlight, showing off why you're the main act for the job. Leave them remembering your name and thinking, "Now that's the kind of person we need!"
How to Format Your Cover Letter
Header: Your header should include all your key contact information.
“Re: Exact Job Position”
Greeting: Start your cover letter addressing an employer’s name or using “dear hiring manager”.
Introduction: To start your cover letter, write an engaging opening paragraph. Capture the hiring manager’s attention with an anecdote about how you found the job or your excitement for the opportunity.
Body: The body paragraph should be all about your achievements and specifics. This is where you address key requirements of the job and showcase how your skills and experience are the best for fulfilling these requirements. It’s a good time to go into quantifiable examples from your career past to show your qualifications. Using your experience is also a good way to show how you align with the company’s mission and values.
Closing Paragraph: In your closing remarks express your eagerness for an interview and thank the employer for considering your application. Include a call to action, such as your availability and contact information. This will show your proactiveness and leave the door open for further communication.
Last Minute Tips and Tricks
End your cover letter professionally with a “Sincerely” or “Best Regards” followed by your full name. Once you are proud of your cover letter it is in your best interest to proofread and edit your cover letter. Look for any grammatical or spelling errors along with clarity. Add any paragraph that further explains any gaps in employment/concerns or express your genuine interest and fit for the role.
Seal the Deal: Mastering the Art of the Cover Letter with Per Se’s Expert Guidance
And that, my friends, is the scoop on cover letters. They're more than just a formal greeting or a fancy way to say, "Hey, check out my resume!" A well-crafted cover letter can turn a maybe into a yes, transforming your application from just another PDF in the pile to a memorable narrative that resonates with hiring managers.
But let's be real, writing a cover letter can feel like trying to solve a Rubik's cube blindfolded. What do you say? How do you say it without sounding like a robot?
Whether you're a seasoned pro or a fresh-faced newbie in the job market, we've got your back. We'll work with you to tailor a cover letter that not only complements your resume but also captures your unique story and showcases why you're the perfect fit for your dream role.
So, if you're ready to elevate your job application to the next level, join our career network. Let's team up and craft that killer cover letter that'll have hiring managers saying, "We've got to meet this person!" Remember, in the world of job hunting, it's not just about being qualified—it's about being unforgettable. Let's make that happen together!