The 411 on Cover Letters

Nancy Anderson
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The job search is often a tedious process that involves compiling information for your resume, searching for positions in your area of expertise and connecting with professionals in the industry. The cover letter is one of the most important elements of your job search. Hiring managers rely on information that shows your personality and your professionalism. Know the 411 to craft a letter that makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates.

Pay close attention to formatting when writing a cover letter. Include a header that details your name, address, contact information and a link to your professional social media sites and portfolio. Hiring managers seek out candidates who have a professional standing within the industry and routinely check sites such as LinkedIn to survey your interactions with professionals in the field. An online portfolio is an ideal way to show the hiring manager your skills and talents, especially when seeking a career in a creative field such as copywriting or graphic design.

Tell your professional story within the cover letter. Avoid repeating information from your resume. Instead, expand on your professional experience with specific examples of how you met deadlines, worked with teams, served customers and impacted productivity and profitability in past positions. Detail accomplishments not listed on your resume to provide the hiring manager with an overview of your career success.

Begin your cover letter with an opening statement that captures interest. Detail the position you are seeking, how you heard about the job opening and why you want to work for the company. Focus your job search on researching the company so you can explain why you find it attractive for your future career. Hiring managers seek candidates who are not only well-versed and experienced in the industry but also those who take the time to investigate whether the company culture, mission and goals are in line with their own values and goals. Provide specific examples of how the company's accomplishments are impressive, and then detail how you can contribute to future success.

Personalize your cover letter for each position. Hiring managers can spot a template from a mile away. A generic template does not adequately detail why this position and company itself is a good fit for you. Instead, use keywords from the job description and match your skills to the skills desired by the company so the potential employer can easily see you are the ideal candidate.

Close your cover letter confidently. Directly request an interview and state you are positive your skills and experience are an ideal fit for this position. Job seekers who show confidence, personality and professionalism in application materials have more opportunity to capture interest, and ultimately, nab the job of their dreams.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Batakrishna thanks for your comment. Employers do want to know your worth and you can show that in your resume. The cover letter is to show how hiring you will benefit the company. In other words, the cover letter is about them, not about you.


    I do not think so that cover letter is indispensable. Employer wants to know your capability how much you worth or potentiality for the job and does not like to see all these garbage or waste their( Employer) valuable time.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Leo thanks for your comment. I guess it would be a judgment call as to the cover letter. Personally I would never apply for a position without including the cover letter unless the hiring company specifically stated to only send a resume. And you indicated that the resumes and cover letters were on paper? That means that the company took the time to actually print both the resume and cover letter? Most applicants do not send their resume and cover letter via snail mail anymore. Was your observation recent? There has been a lot of press surrounding the question of whether or not to include a cover letter. My personal recommendation is to err on the side of caution and to include the cover letter.

  • Leo C.
    Leo C.

    I have sat in the lobby of several companies and an HR rep came out to the receptionist with a basket of envelopes containing resumes and cover letters. The rep told to receptionist to separate the resumes and cover letters into two stacks, the resumes for reviewing and the cover letters for the shredder or trash with the envelopes. With this said I do NOT see the Need for a cover letter.

  • Jerell B.
    Jerell B.


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