by Kerry Spivey
Everyone has always been told not to judge a book by its cover. If this is the rule, then what makes you want to read a book? Of course you are going to look at the cover to decide if you are interested in the rest of the book. You may also flip to the back cover of the book to read a brief summary of the book. You will want to read the reviews that critics gave the book so you will know what kind of quality to expect. You can apply this example to the importance of a cover letter to compliment your resume. You can consider your cover letter a book jacket to your resume. It provides information that piques interest, but does not give the entire story away. A cover letter explains your story line and makes employers eager to find out more about you. After employers read your cover letter, they will be eager to read the rest of the story in your resume and then decide whether your story is fact or fiction.
A cover letter is an extremely effective tool in introducing yourself to future employers. It allows them to see your name in print, along with some of your qualifications. Remember that your cover letter is your avenue to giving a good first impression. If an employer is unimpressed by your cover letter, he or she may never even give your resume a chance. A cover letter is best used when it tells a potential employer why you are especially interested in his or her company. Also, cover letters are most effective when they are addressed to a specific person. Like a book author must address his audience, you must address yours, as well. Your cover letter also shows that you are actively pursuing a new job. The essential function of the cover letter is to convey to the potential employer your qualifications, as well that you will be in touch and that you are extremely interested in obtaining a position with his or her company.Â (Note from Hyo – for a blow by blow discussion of how to write a cover letter, head over to Cover Letter Basics and read Phil’s advice)
A cover letter can be a lifesaver when it comes to trying to explain a unique situation to future employers. For example, if you are in the process of relocating to New York, but you are still living in Chicago, your resume is only going to have your old address on it. No employer is going to give a second look at a resume coming from hundreds of miles away. You can easily explain in your cover letter that you are in the middle of moving to the company`s city and that you have heard that their company is one of the finest places to work. You could say, “I am in the process of relocating to New York from Chicago, and I have heard from various colleagues that your company offers the best opportunities for growth and training.”
Cover letters also give you an opportunity to mention anyone that might be pulling for you from inside the company. For example, if your friend told you about an opening in the company and told you to check it out, make sure to mention his or her name and that he referred you to the company in your cover letter. If you happened to meet a representative from the company at a Career Fair or professional society meeting, make sure to let your future employer in on your current connections to the company. You could say, “I met one of your salesmen, Bob Smith, at the Career Fair last month, and he suggested that I apply for the open position in your accounting department based on my qualifications. “It automatically gives the employer a reference for you, and it shows motivation to follow up on advice.
Make a Change
A cover letter can also be useful when trying to convey that you are interested in expanding and changing your career. Based on your resume full of the same types of positions, employers will not be able to tell that you are interested in choosing a new profession. Your resume is meant to communicate how successful you have been in your previous jobs, and your cover letter is meant to highlight what you are hoping to accomplish in the future. You want to make sure to highlight your accomplishments and skills and how they might contribute to the company`s success at you emerge a leader in your new career of choice.
Remember that your cover letter has the potential to be more important than your resume because if it’s not impressive, employers may never read your resume, no matter how dynamic your resume is. Like any good author, be concise, accurate and use appropriate vocabulary. Like the cover of a novel, a cover letter gives the reader a mental image of what your story is about. You do not want to give away too much information. You just want to entice them to read a little further. With a colorful cover that promises to be a good read, you should have no problem getting any potential employer to take the next step and read your carefully crafted resume.
Note from Hyo – explore all your cover letter options with templates, samples, programs, etc. at Cover Letter Resources and Tools.
Kerry Spivey, author of Be a Best Seller, with e-resume.net, a national resume writing company. e-resume.net combines personalized attention with the speed of the Internet to deliver professional resumes and cover letters and other documents essential to clients throughout their job search.