Resume Cover Letter
CREATING THE BEST RESUME COVER LETTER
Your resume cover letter plays a pivotal role in your job application. It is really a big irony that most applicants spend so much time meticulous making a resume, only to have their efforts spoiled by a poor, unimpressive, cover letter. As its name implies, a cover letter literally “covers” your resume. It is placed on top of your resume presentation. It’s also known as your application letter for employment.
The purpose of this document is to make an opening statement. It is a billboard advertisement of yourself. It intends to stimulate the potential employer’s interest to read on your whole resume. And since it reveals written communicating skills and a quick personal portrait, it definitely influences the hirer’s decision to give you a chance for an interview. As a matter of fact, in spite of a comparatively weak resume, a cleverly composed cover letter could pique the hirer’s interest just the same. This decision depends largely on your engaging personality, expressed enthusiasm, and persuasive communication skills on the cover letter.
Normally, a hirer would not take more than a minute to go over your cover letter. Your aim is to create a strong persuasive interest in your resume within these few short seconds.
There are two important things you should never do in drafting the letter:
1. Never address the letter with “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir,” or any other generic greeting. Make the extra effort to find out the specific name and title of the person who will be receiving your application. The hiring manager might feel slighted if you haven’t even taken the effort to learn his or her name, also you will stand out if you do do this, so without this why would that person even consider you for an interview? You are sure to flunk it within the first few words in your application when you are not careful with your salutation.
2. Don’t crowd in all the information in your resume in the cover letter. That’s not what a cover letter is for. The cover letter is a sales pitch; an advertisement; a sample of the whole. Do not overwhelm the scrutinizing eyes with too many facts and figures.
In drafting your cover letter, normally you only work on three paragraphs:
The Opening Paragraph
First of all, begin the letter by stating briefly where and when you learned of the job opening, and the reason or reasons why you are writing. Make sure that your enthusiasm is evident in your few short sentences. A good example is; “I’ve been greatly interested when I read the job posting in this Sunday’s Bulletin regarding your need for an Administrative Assistant. I have more than 5 years experience and I’m confident that my qualifications and achievements match the requirements you seek.”
Be precise in your application. Spell out your intentions plainly from the start so the hiring personnel won’t have to guess what position you are applying for.
Your second paragraph should convince the reader that your experience, qualifications, and abilities, can benefit their company. Bear in mind that whatever impression the hiring manager will have from this paragraph has to lead him to read your enclosed resume. Make sure to include in this narrative your significant contributions and the good results which profited your previous employment. These must strengthen your claims in the first paragraph. Be professional, yet somewhat personal, in describing your qualifications and strengths.
Plug-in in 4-5 sentences the specific skills that will make you the primary candidate for the job. To illustrate this, check out these two sentences and note the excellence of the second one compared with the first:
Sentence 1: “I have the technical skills you need.”
Sentence 2: “I am well-versed with computers, have good communication and writing skills, and has a knack for organizing files.”
The Final Paragraph
Conclude the cover letter with a request for an interview, express your thanks, and tell of the intention on your part to make a follow-up to your application.
The ending paragraph of your cover letter will simply point to the hiring manager your attached resume. In one or two sentences, state your enthusiasm and eagerness to get an interview. Don’t forget to place your contact numbers and addresses (home, mailing, and e-mail addresses).
Do not forget that a cover letter is the first thing a potential employer sees. It is the “make-or-break” determinant for the job. Do your utmost to make it right. Don’t be lazy with proofreading - correct your spellings, grammars, punctuations and sentence construction, because ultimately, your meticulous efforts will reward you with the job.
Quick reminder: Never assume that you don’t need a cover letter just because you’re applying for a job via e-mail. Use a cover letter in your e-mail applications that you’d use if you were mailing your resume the conventional way.