In today's competitive job market, many job seekers wonder if potential employers really take the time to read cover letters. Many hiring managers only skim over them, but some do read cover letters thoroughly. It is recommended to always include a cover letter with your resume because the cover letter's job is to support your resume by showcasing your strengths, professionalism and personality.
The cover letter helps create a stronger first impression than your resume can. Many hiring managers sift through hundreds of resumes at a time, so any resumes that come equipped with a well-crafted cover letter automatically appear more prepared and professional before the hiring manager even reads the first sentence. In a sea of one-page resumes, those with cover letters attached may move to the top of the pile just for catching the hiring manager's attention.
In addition to creating a strong first impression, the cover letter also allows you to customize your application to the job. While the resume shows your career history and hits on your overall knowledge and skills, the cover letters lets you showcase specific experiences and abilities that apply to the particular job in question. Once you do some thorough research on the company and learn what qualities it values in its employees, you can tailor your cover letter to showcase those values. You can talk about the specific job and why you are a great fit for it. Once your cover letter proves you're worth a longer glance, your resume can then show the hiring manager the full extent of your skills and accomplishments.
Perhaps the greatest advantage to including a cover letter with every resume is that the cover letter lets you showcase your personality in addition to your abilities. By talking about yourself in the first person, you make a more personal connection to the person reading your letter; you become more than just another candidate. The cover letter allows you to present yourself in a more relaxed manner than your resume while still appearing professional and confident. You can express your passion for the industry and your knowledge of the company as well.
No matter how attention grabbing your cover letter is, it cannot fully support your job seeking efforts if it contains errors of any kind. Using a spell checker program is a good start, but it's best to have your letter proofread by a friend or colleague. A fresh set of eyes can help uncover more effective ways to express yourself and check for grammar errors that spell checker software may overlook.
Unless you are specifically instructed not to include a cover letter, it is always a good idea to include one with your resume. The cover letter adds panache and color to the resume and paints a better portrait of you as a person. Taking the time to really craft a thorough, personalized, compelling cover letter increases your chances of landing a call back from the hiring manager.
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