To Cover Letter… or Not To Cover Letter
That is the question, isn’t it?
When you are seeking a job each step of the process can seem daunting. Especially when much of the process seems redundant. Navigating job boards multiple times a day, completing long applications… it is all very time consuming. So why bother with the extra step of adding a cover letter? Because a good cover letter can help set you apart from the other applicants.
As a Recruiter, I am always pleased to see a cover letter with a resume, mainly because I know the applicant took that extra step when so many other applicants do not. That extra initiative sets them apart right away. And while including a cover letter is a good start, including a great cover letter could land you an interview.
How long should a cover letter be? I often read long cover letters without gaining any knowledge about why the candidate is applying to my job posting. It should be concise and to the point and no longer than a single page in length.
A good cover letter will specify why you are a good fit for the position. Your cover letter is an opportunity to take specific job duties directly from the job description and showcase your experience. For example, if the job is for a receptionist position then you might point out the companies you have worked at as a receptionist and the length of time you performed that job. This helps the recruiter understand why you are qualified for the position.
“I see in your job description you are looking for someone that can greet customers and direct them to the appropriate department for help. I worked at XYZ Corporation for two years and was the point person for all walk-in and call-in traffic. I would identify their concerns and direct them to the appropriate department.”
Additionally, your cover letter is an opportunity to call out your accomplishments, awards or “wins” achieved at a previous job. Do not be afraid to toot your own horn, especially if the accolade occurred in a similar industry. If you were the top salesperson a particular year, employee of the month, or if you headed up a special project and have actual numbers to support your success, then include that in your cover letter.
Lastly, a cover letter is also a useful tool for explaining any employment gaps on your resume. If you are relocating to a different area, you can explain why you are applying to that specific job. Keep it short and concise. You do not need more than a sentence or two to explain.
Cover letters are a great tool for getting your accomplishments and qualifications noticed. That extra step could be the very reason you get that call for an interview.
Good luck in your job search!
Recruiter, Coastal Medical Staffing