Cover Letter – The Secret Ingredient

So, you have a world-class resume, or, at least, you certainly should; is this enough to land you an interview? In many cases the answer is yes, but in a job market where there are often several hundred resumes submitted for one position, there is a way to further increase your chances.

A cover letter gives you an edge because less than 20% of applicants submit a cover letter, unless it is requested by the employer. The cover letter is your chance to talk about why you would be a match for a specific role in a much more impactful way than the resume allows.

A cover letter should be three simple paragraphs.

The first paragraph should include what role, or types of roles, that you are pursuing as well as why you want to work for their company – this last part is important, they want someone not just looking for a job but also someone who actually wants to work for them. You can mention people that you know at the company and their feedback as one of the reasons that you are interested.

The second paragraph should talk about why you would be perfect for the role that you mention in the first paragraph. A sentence or two about how your experience aligns with the role, and then perhaps 3-5 bullets that highlight specific relevant successes that you have had; these bullet points can be repeated from your resume, but are the most applicable for that role.

The last paragraph should be a simple closing; reiterate your interest in the role and talk about next steps. Let them know that you will reach out with a phone call in about a week, and don’t wait for them to call you.

The cover letter can be a differentiator, and it is a best practice to send a cover letter with every resume that you submit regardless of whether or not it is requested.

Written by Guest Blogger, Todd Nicholas.