The adage that, “It is all in the cover letter, baby”, holds more merit in today’s job market than ever before. As it applies to human beings the cover letter is extremely important. Now when Human Resource managers and talent acquisition personnel receive literally hundreds of resumes for a position how can one stand out? Well let me tell you, the cover letter is read; while the resume is scanned over if the cover letter is good. If the cover letter is no good then the resume reader is forced to read the resume. Let’s face it reading a resume is hard enough, let alone hundreds of resumes, and when you are not in the specific field you are reading the resume for………well that only makes it more likely your resume gets thrown to the wolves.
A resume is a marketing document with accomplishments that one should be proud of and able to recite from memory. The cover letter should tell the resume reader what is in the resume, why you are a good fit for the position, and what special qualities you possess that the competition does not possess.
A cover letter is usually three to four paragraphs from two hundred to five hundred words; the shorter he better. An opening paragraph explaining who you are and why you are a good fit for the position. Next a paragraph outlining the skills you have that the employer is looking for with perhaps a fact to back up your words; This comes directly from the employers add (I might add literally). Next, what separates you from the competition and why. Lastly a summary of specific qualities that show the employer you are the reliable, confidential and loyal person they are looking for.
Now the resume reader knows what to look for, and can probably spend less than one minute on your resume with the preconceived notion that you may be one of the people to interview. This is how to get selected for the first round of interviews especially when the hiring manager is reading the cover letter and resume.