Couple of quick hits to consider the next time you shoot off a cover letter. For most, the cover letter is always – and I mean always – an afterthought or no thought. Heck, most resume go naked as it is and that’s a shame. For a lot of resume, that cover letter can be the make or break document.
Chances are you’ve spent a goodish amount of time on your resume. If you haven’t, then you need to. Whether you secure a job through networking, online app, cold contact, whatever – that resume needs to be outstanding.
The cover letter is just as important. I used to say it’s like approaching a girl (or guy). You could have the total package but if your approach sucks – that’s that. Your cover letter is your approach.
So, here is a refresher on cover letters:
It’s not the resume. Don’t rehash the resume in your cover letter. Say or write something that is an added value statement to the resume. Yes, you want to introduce the resume and highlight your key accomplishments, but it must be more than just regurgitation of what’s on your resume. Cover letters need to be tailored to your reader. You need to tailor your accomplishments to make sense for the reader.
Make it relevant. In line with tailoring your accomplishments to the reader; you make it relevant by writing the cover letter to the industry norms, market conditions, and employer background. In a word, research your industry and let it show in the cover letter. Use the cover letter to set the stage and frame the mindset of the reader.
By the way, you must proofread before you send. Ideally, if you could get another set of eyes on it; that would be great. The last thing you need is to spot a typo after you send it. It’s that important.
For more info on cover letters and how to write, check out my cover letter resource page with all its listings.