Don't Skip That Cover Letter If You Really Want the Job

Nancy Anderson
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Most job search candidates focus entirely on the perfecting the resume. While the resume remains an essential part of any candidate's profile, the cover letter is very important as well. While some may view the cover letter as unnecessary, it can be the link between you and your dream job. Here are a few reasons why the cover letter is still necessary.

Grab the Reader's Attention

If you submit a resume with no cover letter, chances are it ends up in a pile of other resumes. You must find a way to grab the hiring manager's attention right away, and only a cover letter can do that. First, make sure the cover letter is addressed to the exact person who should read it and that it's customized to the exact job for which you're applying. Right from the beginning, pique the reader's interest with a great hook about your amazing skills and abilities. The point is to make the reader want to keep reading to learn more about you.

Elaborate on Resume Information

Your resume is intended to give a clear picture of your work history, with chronological dates, titles, companies and tasks. What it can't do is sell you as a potential employee. That's the importance of the cover letter. Do not make the mistake of regurgitating your resume details into paragraph form; instead, explain your relevant skills and experience with examples and facts. Discuss how certain positions or projects you've participated in have shaped your work ethic, determination and motivation.

Explain Gaps or Short Work History

If your resume is short on experience or includes gaps in work history, your cover letter becomes even more important. If you had to take a break from work for school, family matters or illness, stating that in resume form is difficult. Take the opportunity to tactfully explain your gaps or shortage of work experience and how your skills, abilities and enthusiasm make up for your lack of traditional experience.

Showcase Your Personality

Your cover letter is your opportunity to inject a bit of your personality into your candidate profile. While a resume gives employers the hard facts about your work experience and skills, the cover letter brings it all to life. Take time to write a cover letter that uses natural, conversational language to convey your excitement, enthusiasm and professionalism.

While the resume should always be the main focus of a candidate's profile, the cover letter has the power to make a great first impression, introduce you as a human being and set you apart from a sea of qualified candidates on the same job search. Don't make the common mistake of crafting a perfect resume without providing a cover letter to support it.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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