Writing a good cover letter is an essential part of the job search — especially when most resumes are sent through virtual channels such as email or more traditional methods such as the postal service. Given that hiring managers can’t see a professional’s face prior to an interview, including bits and pieces about personality and relevant experience is a great way to get a foot in the door.
Most importantly, cover letters allow professionals to make a much stronger first impression than those who do not include one. Most resumes follow a typical format, so standing apart from the rest of the applicants can be tough; a cover letter is the perfect way to show off specialized skills and experience that may not be as obvious to a hiring manager scanning a resume.
Cover letters allow the professional to make his application more personal and more personalized. By showing off bits of his personality in his cover letter, the professional can use a more relaxed tone to drive across the human approach to why he thinks he is qualified for the position. Without the cover letter, hiring managers may be left wondering why certain positions or skills are relevant. More obscure and less obvious aspects can be pointed out and explained in a cover letter.
A professional can provide more detail to specialized positions and skills through the cover letter as well. A resume typically allows for two or three lines for each role if the professional is sticking to a one-sheet layout. As such, there may not be a lot of room for the detail that really makes those positions shine. Cover letters allow for a lot more detail, and the professional can use his cover letter to the address specific needs of the company as they relate to his experience.
Cover letters add a human touch to the job search that many applicants wouldn't have otherwise. Hiring managers scan hundreds of resumes every day, and typically they don’t spend a lot of time on any particular one unless it stands out. Having a cover letter paints the professional as an individual who goes out of his way to pinpoint the company’s needs and how he meets them.
Professionals should always ensure that their cover letters are free of mistakes such as misspellings and grammatical errors. Additionally, a good cover letter should be tailored to the specific position for which the professional is applying; this can help the professional avoid sloppy mistakes such as misspelling the company name or even forgetting to change important details, such as the addressee’s name.
Cover letters may seem outdated to some, but they still play a large part in the job search. Without them, a professional’s resume may just be another piece of paper in the mountainous stack that hiring managers sift through.
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