Are you a job seeker who doesn't believe that including a cover letter with every resume will help you stand out? Perhaps it’s because you think it’s a waste of time or that it won’t get read. What if you are wrong and the cover letter does get read? Here are the important elements of all cover letters, just in case:
- Give an Explanation: Cover letters are meant to complement what is on your resume. While your resume should illustrate your skills, achievements, and results, you may want to pick one or two that stand out to you, and refer to them in your cover letter.
- Highlight an Opportunity: If you’ve been following the company for a while, conducted an informational interview with someone on the inside, or you were referred by someone already working there, use the cover letter as an opportunity to name drop. This should always be done tactfully, but, if one of the above situations is applicable, you will definitely want to take advantage of this. Remember that Hiring Managers often look for in-house employees or referrals when it comes to hiring. This could be your chance.
- Share your Knowledge: Be sure to refer to what you know about the company. For example, if a recent organizational challenge has been highlighted in a report, on social media, or through another avenue, briefly address how you could contribute to the solution. This helps the Hiring Manager to see that you have been following the company and are familiar with its inner workings.
- Illustrate Follow Through: All cover letters should close with an invitation to connect with you. Be sure to follow through with what you say you are going to do. For example, if you say you will follow up on Wednesday, make sure that you actually do follow up on Wednesday, and not Thursday or Friday.
Cover letters are still a great way to demonstrate your strongest skills for the Hiring Manager, especially as a complement to your resume. Next time you apply for a job, ask yourself the following question: If my resume and cover letter were separated, could my cover letter do the job of peaking the Hiring Manager’s interest all by itself? If not, then it might be time to review and revise it.