Okay, here’s the recap! The one and only purpose of a cover letter is to get the reader – hopefully a hiring manager – to read your resume. I say hiring manager because, believe it or not, the hiring manager and HR has definitely – different – agendas.
Generally both want to make a good hire. But – and this my uninformed, unqualified but – HR wants a good hire because the good hire is a reflection of his or her job performance. Hiring cost, training cost, turnover, etc. are all job performance standards.
Having blatantly “insulted” a whole bunch of dedicated professionals who committed to hiring only the best person for the job – for the betterment of the company; I still think HR performance metrics are a big part of any consideration of moving someone forward to the next step…
On the other hand, a hiring manager needs to bring on someone who can get the job done. Not looking for a teamplayer – per se. Not necessarily looking for “good fit.” Hiring manager needs either a hired gun that can get the job done or someone good (better) who the hiring manager sees as a replacement. But first, get the job done. Again, all my humble opinion.
So, here’s the cause and effect that you are looking:
Hiring Manager reads cover letter
Hiring Manager reads resume
Hiring Manager calls for interview
About as basic as it gets.
Interesting, your cover letter should also contain three steps. I’ve written about it a number of times, but again as a recap, let’s review:
- Why is this person writing me?
- What can this person do for me?
- What does this person want from me?
Those three “W’s” are really all that anyone is interested in. Whether you are writing to a hiring manager or to HR, if you nail those three questions; then your resume gets read. And hopefully, your resume will be tight enough to compel the reader to move to step 3. Then it’s showtime.
Keep it more simple than more complicated. You’ll spill your guts soon enough on the resume (actually don’t) and in the interview (actually don’t), so don’t spill your guts on a cover letter.
In some cases, a cover letter can become a minimalist’s resume but in most cases, your cover letter is the lead into your resume. So, keep it on point:
- The first paragraph should be a one or two sentence introductory statement that clearly states why you are writing
- The second paragraph goes right to what you can do for the reader. It is the benefits statement.
- The third paragraph is your features statement. What makes you special or what makes you effective. One or two sentences at most.
Good Luck, Hyo