Updated: Feb 1, 2019
As a professional resume writer, I hear the question all the time, "Do I really need a cover letter?"The short answer is yes. As a professional resume writer in El Paso, this is a question I receive on a regular basis. After a bit of probing, I often find out that most job seekers aren’t sure what to write into a cover letter. On top of that, bragging about yourself and achievements is hard for most people. Often times, your greatest achievements are not at the forefront of your mind. I have a few reasons why you need a cover page and tips about what to put in your cover letter.
Yes, You Do Need a Cover Letter
First and foremost, why wouldn’t you want to turn in a cover letter? This is an extra page to communicate with your prospective employer. This is an extra space to write in complete sentences and explain why you are a better fit than other candidates. It is a great opportunity and would be a shame to pass up. Some may argue, hiring officials won’t even read my cover letter. If that is the case, you are not losing out on anything other than a bit of time it took to write the resume. On the flip side, many job posting will indicate that a cover letter is required. If you don’t have one ready you run the risk of not getting looked at because you could not follow instructions. Even worse, you may scramble to write one and end up with a sloppy job.
If you turn to a professional resume writer to have your career documents prepared, they will ask you specific questions to garner information for your cover page. They may ask about what makes you specifically qualified for the position at hand. A pro writer will also want info on your biggest achievements.
You Risk Looking Uninterested
The biggest reason you need to turn in a cover letter is the fact that you risk looking uninterested when you don't turn one in. Not taking the opportunity to introduce yourself leaves your resume as a stand alone document. On top of all that, if there are gaps due to full-time school or other questions on your resume, you can explain them in a sentence or two on the cover page.
What Do I Include in My Cover Page?
This is a tricky question. To begin, you should not use the same cover page for every job posting. The best thing you can write on your cover page is an explanation of why you are the best candidate for this position. This answer will vary from one job application to the next. Your answer can include your accomplishments, specific courses you took in college, military experience, or volunteer activities. You want to speak directly about the skills you have that are asked for on the job posting.
If you are including accomplishments, it is best to use solid numbers or results. For example, if you created a process that saved employees four hours of time, this is a solid example of a positive result you created. If you know dollar amounts this is great as well. Showing that you have the capacity to infect change, create efficiency or save money is great.
Remember Your Audience
Overall, everything you include should somehow speak of how you can contribute at this prospective workplace. While you are actually talking about yourself, it should peak the prospective employer’s interest. It should also reflect info from the job posting. You may be really proud of being the top seller for a specific product at your current job, but if this position you are applying to has nothing to do with sales, you may want to leave it out.
Keep it Brief
Aside from not including a cover page, the biggest mistake most people make is writing too much. If your resume is too long, it simply won’t get read. It should be formatted in such a way that is easy to scan. You can even include numbers or bullets. Your paragraphs should be short. Don’t include more than three to four small paragraphs.
Include Key Info
The following bits of information need to be in the cover letter.
The position and place: Briefly state that you are interested in the specific job title and the name of the place you are applying to. This shows that you have taken the necessary time to read over the job posting. It also helps HR professionals when they are hiring for many positions.
Name of HR professional: You should address the cover page to an actual person when at all possible. If the name is not stated on the job posting you can always call and ask for it. You can say that you are interested candidate in said position and would like to know who to address your cover letter to. This will show your interest and initiative. It will also make you stand out as many people don’t take this step.
Contact Info: Be sure to include the same header as your resume.
Writing is Hard
With all that being said, you may feel that the task of writing a cover page is over your head. If you are not confident in your writing skills, be sure to give me a call. As a professional resume writer, I have a full understanding of how to taylor both your resume and cover page to the job you are applying to. It is also helpful to get a head start and have the documents ready before you even find the right job posting. While it is important to create new documents for each job, it is a good idea to have base documents ready. Call or email me today. My calendar fills up quickly, so the sooner we get started the sooner you can apply for your dream job!