The Cover Letter
I can’t tell you how many times I hear “Nobody uses cover letters anymore” or “Hiring Managers or Recruiters don’t read cover letters.” Well, these statements can’t be further from the truth. Cover letters are just and if not more important than they have ever been. You take the time and money to get a great resume together and don’t put any thought into a cover letter. It’s like having a Corvette with an empty gas tank an amazing automobile, but you can’t drive it anywhere. Personally, people who don’t take the time to put a cover letter together are doing an injustice to their job search.
Why Do I Need A Cover Letter?
I’ll be the first to admit that a hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t have the time to read every cover letter and resume they receive fully. I also can’t tell you how many times I looked for a cover letter with a resume to give me an insight of a potential candidate’s qualifications. When a company has two similar resumes side by side, a cover letter can add a voice to your resume and increase your odds of getting that interview.
What Is A Cover Letter?
In the past, before electronic mail you mailed your resume and enclosed with your resume was a cover letter. A cover letter introduces your resume and gives it purpose, clarity, and personality. Remember a cover letter is your “First Impression,” and it also provides a look into how well you communicate, so please take the time to write clearly and professionally, avoiding any grammar-spelling errors, jargons and run on sentences. Show enthusiasm, optimism, and confidence, but keeping it professional and respectful, there is a thin line where you can sound pompous which can destroy that first impression.
There are generally three types of cover letters
- The application letter – which is in response to a published job opening
- The prospecting letter – which inquires about a possible position in a company
- The networking letter – this letter is asking for assistance in your job search from a contact you were given.
Each cover letter that you send needs to be crafted for each position/company you apply. Please do not just write a general letter that you change the contact information, these types of letters are in poor taste and will add nothing to your chances of getting that interview. You need to communicate what you can do for the company and how your experience fits with the position they have open.
What Should A Cover Letter Include?
- Cover letters are preferably only one page.
- Your font and your name header should match the resume’s to look uniform.
- Whenever possible address each employer by name and title the Dear “Sir/Madam” just doesn’t cut it especially if it’s a prospecting cover letter.
- You need to do some work and research to try to find the name/title of the person doing the hiring; this effort will go a long way with impressing the person hiring
- Paragraph #1 – This is your opening paragraph, where you state the purpose for writing; how you learned of the organization or position, and basic information about yourself (your current title, years of experience).
- Paragraph #2– Tell why you’re interested in the employer or type of work the employer does (merely stating that you are interested in the position without explaining why will sound like you used a template letter).
- Communicate how you understand enough about the company and the open position; relate your background and experience that suit their requirements. Arouses your reader’s curiosity by mentioning points that are important to the position you are seeking
- Give bullet points of your experience or education that relate to their needs
- Never state what the position or company can do for you but what you can do for them
- Your cover letter needs to compliment your resume and not restate your resume
- Paragraph #3– This is your closing paragraph, indicate that you would like the opportunity to interview for a position or to talk with the employer to learn more about possible opportunities
- Indicate that your resume is also enclosed with the cover letter and offer to provide additional information if needed (a portfolio, a sample publication, a dossier, an audition tape, a writing sample or even a list of references) and indicate how they can obtain these if needed
- Thank the reader for his/her consideration and that you look forward to hearing from him/her
The above information for a cover letter can be done as an email with an attached resume. It depends what they are asking for or how you are perusing the company. But make sure you triple check for grammar and spelling errors, a potential employer will not overlook these and will kill your first impression. Also if you are using a previous copy of a cover letter make sure you change all required information. I can’t tell you how many times I received cover letters for a position and it had the wrong company or position in the cover letter, and they were not called in for an interview. As mentioned it is best to craft a new cover letter for each job that you are sending a resume.
Schedule of Workshops and Webinars
Future Webinars & Seminars
Sorry – nothing planned yet!
Don’t miss it – Subscribe by RSS.
Or, just subscribe to the newsletter !
Widget created by Dave Clements
- Cover Letter Learn more>
- 2nd Targeted Resume Learn more>
- Resume Business Cards Learn more>
- Update Previous Career Thinker Resume
- LinkedIn Profile Learn more>
|View a Video|
|Attend a Webinar or Seminar/Workshop|
| Sign-up for |
- Email Format
- How to Write
Follow the Employer’s Instructions
When you apply for jobs via email, the employer may require you to send your resume and cover letter as an attachment to an email message. It’s important to send your attachments correctly, to include all the information you need so your email message is read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview.
How to Save a Cover Letter and Resume
When you are sending cover letter and resume attachments, the first step is to save your resume as a PDF or a Word document . This way the receiver will get a copy of the resume in the original format. You can either save your cover letter in document format or write it directly in the email message.
If you have word processing software other than Microsoft Word save your resume as a Word (.doc or .docx) document. File, Save As, should be an option in your program.
Depending on your word processing software, you may be able to File, Print to PDF, to save your documents as a PDF. If not, there are free programs you can use to convert a file to a PDF.
A PDF file retains the format of your resume and letter, so the recipient will see them as you wrote them when they open the file(s) you send.
Use your name as the file name , so the employer knows whose resume and cover letter it is, i.e., janedoeresume.doc and janedoecoverletter.doc.
How to Include a Subject Line in an Email Message
The subject line is one of the most important parts of the email messages you send to apply for jobs. If you don’t include one, your message may not even get opened.
Your email message must include a subject line, and it should explain to the reader who you are and what job you are applying for. Be specific, so the recipient knows what he or she is receiving. Employers often hire for many positions at the same time, so include both your name and the job title.
Add a subject to the email message before you start writing it. That way, you won’t forget to include it afterward.
Here’s what to write:
Subject: Your Name – Job Title
- How to Write Email Subject Lines
- Email Subject Line Examples
How to Write an Email Message to Send With Your Cover Letter and Resume
Once you have saved your resume and cover letter and they are ready to send, the next step is to write an email message to send with your documents.
First, open your email account. Then click on Message at the top left of the screen or click on File, New, Message.
You can either type your cover letter directly into the email message , copy and paste from a word processing document or if the company requests an attachment, send your cover letter and resume with the email message. So, your choices are to send a cover letter attachment or to use the email message as your cover letter.
If you are attaching a cover letter, your email message can be brief. Simply state that your resume and cover letter are attached. Offer to provide additional information and let the reader know how you can be contacted.
If you’re writing an email cover letter, review these formatting tips before you send it.
Also, be sure to follow the directions in the job posting for how to apply when sending your cover letter and resume or your application may not be considered.
Review a Sample Email Message
Subject: Sarah Smith – Museum Docent
Dear Ms. Cooper,
I’m writing to apply for the summer docent program at the Museum of Local History.
I have extensive docent experience, having volunteered at both the Harbor Museum and ABC Art, and have led tours both as a student leader and a member of the town historical society. In addition, I’m a lifelong town resident and an enthusiastic amateur historian.
I’ve attached my cover letter and resume for your review. I hope you’ll contact me at your convenience to discuss the program and to arrange an interview. Thank you for your time.
Add a Signature to an Email Message
It is important to include an email signature with all your contact information, so it’s easy for hiring managers and recruiters to get in touch with you. Include your full name, your email address, and your phone number in your email signature, so the hiring manager can see, at a glance, how to contact you.
If you have a LinkedIn profile , include it in your signature. Do the same with any other social media accounts you use for career and business purposes.
To add your signature to your email message, click on File, Insert, Signature if you have a signature saved that you use for job searching. If you haven’t created an email signature, type your contact information (name, email address, phone, LinkedIn) at the bottom of your message.
- How to Set Up an Email Signature
- Sample Email Signature
How to Attach a Resume and Cover Letter to an Email Message
Once your email message is ready to send, you need to attach your resume and cover letter to your message. Click on Insert, Attach File. Your email client will display a list of files in the default file folder of your computer.
If your resume and cover letter are stored in a different folder, click on the appropriate folder.
Click to select the file you want to add to your email message, and then click on Insert to attach the document to your email message. Take the time to carefully proofread the message before you send it.
Before you click Send, send the message to yourself to be sure all the attachments come through, and your email message is perfect.
Send a copy of the message to yourself, as well as to the company, so you have a copy for your records. Add yourself as a Bcc (blind carbon copy) by clicking Bcc… and adding your email address.
Then click Send, and your cover letter and your resume will be on its way to the employer.
- How to Email a Cover Letter
- How to Email a Resume
How to Email a Resume and Cover Letter Attachment
Depending on the job for which you’re applying, you may need to email your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. Networking contacts who are helping your job search may also ask you to email your application materials so they can review them and share your resume with prospective employers.
Here Is a Step-by-Step Guide on How to Apply for Jobs Using Email
Review Email Cover Letter Examples and Formats
Here Are Some Tips and Samples for Sending Email Cover Letters
Here Are Some Formatting Tips for Writing Email Cover Letters
Personalize Your Email Cover Letter With These Samples
Here Are Some Tips on Sending an Email Cover Letter With Sample
Tips for Emailing a Resume to an Employer
Options for Addressing Your Cover Letter
Biomedical Engineer Resume and Cover Letter Examples
What to Include in a Cover Letter for a Job
Best Cover Letter Tips for Unadvertised Jobs
Sample Email Cover Letter Message to Hiring Manager
Tips for Using a Template to Write a Resume Cover Letter
Write a Great Cover Letter in 5 Easy Steps
What is the Best Font Size for a Cover Letter?
How to Compose a Job-Winning Cover Letter