Cover Letter Common Sense

A Cover Letter for Your Job Search

87% a hiring manager will skip over your cover letter and move straight to reviewing your resume, but for the 13% of hiring managers who do review your cover letter, the cover letter can be one of the most important parts of landing an interview. Consider a cover letter your introduction to your employer; it is your first impression. Resumes are mandatory for every interview process; cover letters are only required sometimes. Even when a cover letter is not required it is a great way to introduce yourself and show yourself in the best light. Impress potential employers with a polished, sophisticated cover letters to land interviews!

Just like a resume, a cover letter needs to market you and your amazing skills and credentials to a potential employer. Every resume has only a 3-­‐10 second window to grab the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager-­‐ resumes are only read closely if they have passed the initial yes/no assessment. If your cover letter is eye-­‐catching and appealing, your resume could have a much better chance of being read. The more employers and recruiters who actually read your resume, the better chance you have of being invited to an interview and landing a job.

Cover letters are a much more flexible marketing tool than resumes. Your letter can be more story-­‐like and directly create a narrative or image about you as a professional. Your letter should echo the information in your resume, but not repeat it verbatim. Ultimately your cover letter needs to explain 2 things: why you are fit for or bring value to the company/position and why you are interested/enthusiastic about the company/position. You might want to incorporate some of the same language from the “about us” company webpage as well as from the job description. A cover letter should be a page or less; you’ll need to make your point quickly and succinctly.

Cover letters follow a standard business letter format. Your cover letter should have the same letterhead as the “Heading” section of your resume. (Your thank you notes should also have the same letterhead if sent electronically or typed and printed out. Only thank you notes on hand written note cards don’t need the same letterhead.)

All cover letters should be one page. It will contain:

  • A heading
  • A Salutation
  • An introduction
  • 1-3 Body Paragraphs
  • A Closing

A cover letter can be sent by email or by regular mail. Use the same method for your cover letter as you would for your resume. Most organizations require electronic resumes, so you’d send an electronic cover letter as well.