I get this question more than any other from my clients – Do I really need a cover letter? The answer is YES you really need one! Think about a cover letter as the introduction to a story or the beginning of a movie. If you started the movie off at the midway point you might be lost, you wouldn’t know the background or what was going on. Sure, once you started watching it you might pick up on it and figure out where it was going but it would take you some time to do so and you might lose interest before you get there. It is the same way with a cover letter.
A cover letter is your introduction. It is your chance to introduce yourself to the employer, tell them the specific position you’re interested in applying to, and explain very briefly why they should read your resume. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.
As a Hiring Manager for a major Fortune 500 company, I cannot tell you how many unsolicited resumes I received on a daily basis. I probably saw 1000 resumes a month maybe more! The candidates with a cover letter attached received my attention and I will tell you why.
1. It shows professionalism, the extra effort, and your detail-oriented nature. As a hiring manager I want a candidate who takes the time to go the extra mile. It conveys a needed trait to me and an asset in an individual I want on my team.
2. It tells me where to put you. If I’m recruiting for 10 different positions it tells me right off the bat which category/position to put you in. All those other unsolicited resumes that aren’t applying to a specific position because they have no cover letter attached only receive about 2 seconds of my attention before going in the ‘resumes’ file. You know that growing file folder in my filing cabinet that I NEVER look through again.
3. It introduces yourself. It tells me who you are, what you want, and why I should give you the time of day. Consider it your 10 second sales pitch. It convinces me why I should spend more then the normal 5 seconds on your resume. When I read a cover letter filled with accomplishments (that FYI should be related to the position you are applying to) I will search your resume to find them, related experience, and to find out if you’re the candidate I need.
Believe me when I tell you having a cover letter is a great competitive advantage. Look at it this way, if you have a cover letter you are already ahead of all those other average joes without one. You’ve already knocked off a couple hundred people in the job search for that position. Now you just have to compete with the other guys who also had a cover letter with their resume. This is when a powerful, targeted, and customized resume comes into play.
Jessica Holbrook is a former Hiring Manager and a professional resume writer with Great Resumes Fast. She creates powerful, customized, and targeted resumes that are guaranteed to get her clients interviews. For a free resume analysis visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or for a free phone consultation call 1.800.991.5187.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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