Cover Letters Demystified

One of the biggest benefits of a well written cover letter is its ability to connect the dots for a reader. In other words, the resume lists the skills you have. However, the cover letter really explains to the employer why you’re a good match for a specific role. To accomplish this, you simply need to select some key items from the job description. Then, illustrate how expertise gained from past positions enables you to meet and exceed the prospective employer’s expectations.

Why the effort is worthwhile

Admittedly, this part of the process is time-consuming. It forces you to customize the letter as opposed to simply sending the same exact letter for each application. However, this approach can have a huge positive impact on your likelihood of securing an interview. When you close the gap between the job description and your background, employers can instantly see you as a top candidate.

And here’s another reason

When you apply to jobs and craft multiple cover letters, save each one. As your collection grows, you’ll likely find that customization becomes faster and faster because many of the roles you apply to have similar requirements and responsibilities. And another thing. Saving cover letters helps track the positions you have submitted resumes to. This is very helpful when you start receiving call-backs but can’t remember all the places you have applied.

And one last note about using templates and reusing old cover letters. Double check to make sure that you update the employer information in the address. We have received cover letters accidentally addressed to other companies. We’ve also seen letters express interest in a specific position that isn’t ours. This proofreading step may seem obvious, but it’s actually a very easy mistake to make.

Other ways a cover letter can work in your favor

Cover letters are also a perfect way to explain any possible oddities that your resume could reflect. For example, perhaps you just moved to a new part of the country. All your experience is miles away. You can quickly mention that you have officially relocated and are already in the area available for work. This would answer questions about your current location and readiness to work.

Or perhaps this role would be a career change. In that case, you may need to explain why you are choosing a new direction. You’ll also want to illustrate how your skills translate. If you end up applying to jobs that an employer could perceive as being a step down (i.e. you could be over qualified), they may want to know why you have interest in this position.

In any situations like these, the purpose of a cover letter is simply to make it less likely that your resume gets screened out based on assumptions readers make.

Written by Adam Lafield, Recruiter & Marketing Specialist