If you're looking for a job, you probably have a couple of versions of your resume and a cover letter template that you tweak for each job you apply for. However, have you ever thought of looking at your resume and cover letter as two versions of the same document? Try these practical tips to match your resume to your cover letter, and create a professional impression before you even step into the interviewer's office.
Match the Fonts
With a multitude of fonts available, you can tie your resume and cover letter together and make them look professional. Choose the same font for the body of your cover letter as you used in your resume. If possible, use the same font size as well. If you need to use a smaller font to fit everything in on your resume, make sure it is readable in the small size and attractive in the large size. Don't mix fonts in the body of your resume. If you're using letterhead for your cover letter, repeat the header and images in your resume. If you use a non-standard font for your resume headings, transfer it over for any headings on your cover letter, and stay away from fonts that look unprofessional.
Match the Formatting
Duplicate your resume's formatting choices in your cover letter as much as possible. If you use section break graphics in your resume, add them to your letter where appropriate. If you separate resume sections with horizontal lines, repeat those lines in the header and footer of your cover letter. Some people use color in their resume titles and headers. If you like that look, add the exact same color in your cover letter. Each matching format choice you make sends a message of competence and coherence.
Match the Paper
If you are delivering hard copy versions of your resume and cover letter, use the same high-quality paper for both. Use white or cream paper, since your hard copy is likely to be scanned, and colored paper may obscure what's written on the page. For the same reason, avoid glossy or highly textured papers for both documents.
Match the Information
Appearance isn't the only thing that matters when matching your resume and cover letter. Make sure the information in the two documents aligns as well. Update your resume every time you send it out to ensure you don't mention something in your cover letter that doesn't show up on your resume. If the information doesn't match, you end up looking sloppy and possibly deceitful. Use your cover letter to draw attention to the highlights in your resume that are important for the specific job for which you're applying.
Matching your resume to your cover letter in small ways sends a strong message regarding your attention to detail and ability to follow through that job interviewers will notice. When your cover letter matches your resume, you give a job recruiter one more reason to put your documents in the pile that leads to a job interview and ultimately a job.
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