Cover Letters: Do They Matter?

Your resume is amazing (you’ve crossed your “t”s and dotted your “i”s; no spelling errors to speak of; and it’s professional). You’re ready to send your amazing resume out to potential employers, but what about the cover letter? The cover letter is sometimes an enigma to job seekers. What is it? What’s its purpose? Why do I need one if I have an amazing resume?

What It Is and Its Purpose

The cover letter is a letter of introduction. It allows potential employers to get a feel for who you are while also getting to know you a bit. Yes, many cover letters regurgitate some of the information found on the resume, but it’s much more than putting your resume into paragraph form: it’s selling yourself.

Think of it this way: The resume is the formal outline of why you’re great; the cover letter lets your personality shine a bit so that employers can see the you behind the words. It’s a great way to let your voice be heard if even on paper.

Like the resume, your cover letter needs to be short and sweet and to the point. However, you get to expand a bit on your skills and qualifications while injecting a bit of your personality into the text.

Also like the resume, it’s important to be factual in the body of your cover letter. It’s great if you have amazing skills and qualifications, but don’t mislead the potential employer into thinking you’re something you’re not. Represent yourself truthfully and you’ll get to skip some of the problems that come with misleading an employer.

Tips and Tricks

Be specific in your cover letter. Don’t say “your company,” say the company’s name.

Expand on your skills by telling the short stories about how you got them/used them.

Explain how your skills and experience will help the position.

Ask for the interview.

Be bold and truthful.

Conclusion

The cover letter may remain slightly mysterious to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. A well-executed cover letter could very well mean the difference between getting an interview and being overlooked by a potential employer. Allow yourself to be seen through your words in the text of the letter while portraying a level of professionalism that screams to potential employers that you’ve got what it takes to take this position into the future.

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