The importance of a cover letter in a recruiter’s hiring decision is quickly dwindling. In fact, the role a cover letter plays in a hiring decision pales in comparison to job experience and culture fit. BUT – when you throw out the “traditional” cover letter that so many of us (and so many recruiters) are used to and instead use a brief, pointed e-note that touches on both experience and culture fit it’s a winning combination. We call these type of cover letters e-notes because they’re exceptionally brief and usually a paragraph long in the body of an e-mail.
An e-note is the perfect place to address your most relevant experience, how you’re a culture fit for the position, and your communication style. It’s a short e-mail style note that is written in the body of the e-mail or used when they request a cover letter.
The benefit of an e-note is its brevity and method of delivery. Because it’s incredibly brief and written in the body of the e-mail the chances are greater it will be read. When you know you have the hiring manager’s attention it’s the perfect place to share the two most important factors in their hiring decision.
TWO MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS
A recent JobVite survey concluded that job experience (67%) and culture fit (60%) were the more important factors in the recruiter’s hiring decision. Your e-note is the perfect place to address both.
It’s easy to address experience on your e-note; simply speak to the accomplishments and value you’ve brought to past employers that you know would benefit the employer you’re targeting. An example of this would be:
Could Great Resumes Fast benefit from an award-winning resume writer with a 99% success rate writing resumes that generate interviews for clients on tight timelines?
Of course the company could! Award-winning resume writers are typically veterans in the industry with the best credentials and who take very good care of their clients. We also guarantee interviews and offer resume writing services within 3-5 business days, so the above example addresses our biggest needs and company branding.
The fact that it’s written as a quick question is ideal. You’re asking them if they can benefit from having someone with your experience/results/credentials – whatever you can bring to the table – while simultaneously telling them what you can do.
ADDRESSING CULTURE FIT
Here’s where I want to spend most of my time because you rarely hear culture fit spoken of when it comes to cover letters and e-notes. So first I’m going to start by explaining what culture fit is:
Culture fit is when the employee’s beliefs, behaviors, and values are in alignment with the employer’s core values and culture.
What are the benefits of a culture fit that make it so important that it’s playing such a huge factor in hiring decisions?
A positive culture fit has been shown in studies to:
–Improve employee self-esteem. It makes us feel like we’re more capable of carrying out our work to the best of our ability.
-Great job satisfaction. We’re happy and fulfilled by what we’re doing.
-Identify better with the organization. We feel connected to the company and its mission.
-Better employee retention. Here’s the perk for the employer – a lower turnover rate means more-engaged employees and less money lost in recruiting, onboarding, and training replacements.
–More-committed employees. When there is a culture fit match employees are more committed to the employer and its mission, clients/customers, and the position.
–Superior job performance. Employees who were a great culture fit also demonstrated superior job performance. They do their job with excellence and see far greater results from their efforts.
It really does benefit the employer and the employee for it to be a great culture fit. You should be just as determined to find the best culture fit in a company for yourself as recruiters are about finding the right fit for their company.
SO HOW DO I SPEAK TO CULTURE FIT ON MY COVER LETTER?
Here are some great examples of how you can address and connect your beliefs, behaviors, and values to the company’s:
-Philanthropy – is there a connection between the company’s philanthropic efforts and your own?
–Continuing education and growth – how are you continuing to grow and learn in your industry? Do these efforts align with the culture of the company? In my company I’m constantly seeking process improvement and growth for myself and my writers. Our industry demands we stay on top of the latest trends, so it’s important for me to find writers that are lifelong learners and not stagnant in their careers.
–Environment – are you an introvert or extrovert? How is the department or company set up? Do they want team players working in an open environment or do they need someone who works well on their own with little oversight or team involvement.
–Management style – some people need freedom to be independent and work on their own with no micromanagement; consider this as part of the culture fit too.
You don’t have to address all of these, and you wouldn’t want to write a three-page-long cover letter addressing each one anyway. However, I encourage you to find one or two connections with the employer and share that on your cover letter to demonstrate culture fit. It will help you too if you do the research to determine if the company is a good fit for YOU and how you prefer to work.
FINISH BY FOLLOWING UP
Don’t forget to let them know at the close of your e-note how you’ll be following up with them – and then DO IT. Job seekers don’t realize how few people actually follow up after submitting a resume and cover letter – and recruiters actually want to keep in touch. The same survey I previously mentioned revealed that 59% of recruiters want to keep in touch with candidates and build their talent pipelines. If actually helps them to keep in touch with you.
These are my top 5 tips for writing a cover letter/e-note that will positively impact your job search. If you’re searching for tips on how to bring your resume up to speed with 2017 resume trends, check out this article that includes my top 10 2017 resume tips.
In the meantime, I’d love to connect on LinkedIn and expand both our networks! Feel free to send me an invite here. You can also find me online at Great Resumes Fast where I help time-pressed job seekers create interview-winning resumes within three to five business days—and more than 85% of my clients get multiple interviews in two weeks or less.
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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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