Resume Cover Letters – Who Needs Them?

Answer: Anyone who sends out resumes needs resume cover letters! Even though the issue of a covering letter was not mentioned in conversation, or it wasn’t specified in the ad.

It will be considered a sign of laziness or apathy, to send a resume letter that is not customized to the specific organization you are applying to.

But doesn’t it add more anxiety to the already stressful process of looking for a job? Of course it does! But the upside is, your personalized letters give you an opportunity to highlight the things you can contribute to the particular organization in a way your resume cannot. The cover letter is your ‘Sales Page,’ so to speak. YOU are the ‘product you’re selling.’

Many employers are reporting dozens, even hundreds of applicants for every single job opening. With current 10%+ unemployment rates, and relatively few available jobs, there is a tremendous amount of competition out there for every opening. And this just as true with a small, local 3 or 4 person office as it is with huge multi-national corporations.

When the hiring person is almost literally drowning in applications, they do not have time to read every word of every resume. This is where your resume letters come in. Oftentimes, the hiring person scans the cover letter first. If nothing in that letter catches their attention, chances are the actual resume will never get read. So your perfect, beautiful, well thought out and well-written resume ends up in the trash, having never even been looked at.

The main purpose of resume cover letters is to answer the employer’s question: “What can this applicant do for our business?” It is hard to directly answer this question in the resume, which is a formal listing of jobs, duties, experience, training and accomplishments. Your properly crafted cover letter can answer that question in a very straightforward manner.

You should create a new cover letter with every resume you send out, customized to the particular position and company you are applying to. A basic, generic letter will not get you interviews. At all costs, avoid the “blah, blah, blah…please find my resume attached,” format. Employers are looking for knowledge, excitement and focus. If you do not communicate those qualities in your letters, your odds of getting called for an interview fall somewhere between zilch and zero!

A few tips on other issues that can make or break your resume letters, include:

Misspellings or typos: Ask at least a couple of people to review your letter before you send it, watching carefully for mistakes and grammatical flow. (Does it sound right when read out loud?)

Improperly Addressed: Whenever possible the letter should be addressed to a specific individual. If no name is given in the ad, try networking or research to try to find out the name. If that is impossible, just start the letter without a “Dear so-and-so.”

Writing as though you don’t have a clue who they are or what they’re about: If you don’t already know these things, do some research before writing the letter. Visit their website, if they have one. If not, ask around. See if somebody knows somebody that works there, which can give you a heads up.

Well-written resume cover letters can give you a great edge over all those other applicants!

Now go to Winning Resume Coverletters for more great information about writing eye-catching, Interview Getting, cover letters! Give yourself the competitive edge in your job search!

Author: Kathi Harris


The Pitfalls of Using Free Resume Cover Letters

You’ve seen them before – free resume cover letters that promise to make your job a lot easier and faster. They’re readily available, they offer you what you need and they don’t cost a dime, so what’s the harm?

The trouble with free resume cover letters

Well, for starters, free resume cover letters do not maintain the same quality as other resume cover letters. If you’re a job hunter who’s been in the job market for too long, you know the kind of pressure you face everyday. Not only are the number of potential employers shrinking, the number of potential rivals for a job position also increases. As more and more people discover the very same job you’re applying for, your chances of getting the job you want gets smaller and smaller.

That only makes using a resume cover letter extremely important. When you’re too stressed out and worried about the competition, there is a possibility that you’ll slip and produce a less than perfect resume cover letter, prime feed for the trash can or the paper shredding machine. That is not the kind of scenario you want. So why can’t you not use free resume cover letters?

They’re not all that bad, these free resume cover letters. Problem is, they’re also not that good. They will do, but only for jobs that you’re really not interested in or for those who have no other applicant other than you. Free cover letter samples are often not as excellently written and not as good as professionally prepared cover letter samples. In a job market where you’ll need all the help you could get, free resume cover letters are simply not good news at all.

Using free resume cover letters

Resume cover letters will say a great deal about you – they will inform your potential employer about your professional capabilities and give them a glimpse of what your personality is like.

Now let’s take a look at how you’ll use a free resume cover letter and see why it has ‘cheap’ written all over it. When you find a free resume cover letter, you’ll usually find one that is written with a general feel of what a resume cover letter should read like. You get the usual greetings, introductions, body of the letter and your closing statements.

Since this cover letter was published to help everyone from a nanny to a chief financial officer, you’ll have to change several elements in order to come up with a resume cover letter that seems tailored for your own particular qualifications. Now all you have to do is to mail it and hope for the best.

Problem is, once the hiring manager reads this so-called cover letter of yours, what will he see? A cover letter that looks so familiar he probably has read it before. In fact, he must have, considering that it must have been written using a free resume cover letter that has been available on the internet for the past five years.

Worse, it’s probably been seen and used by thousands of other job hunters before you, some of which may have sent their applications using the very same free resume cover letter that you yourself used! Imagine how badly that will reflect on you.

Avoid this type of pitfall that is so common among job hunters that it should have been outlawed by now. It’s hard enough to compete in a cutthroat job market. Actually ruining your chances with a badly written free resume cover letter is not just a mistake, it’s a crime.

Mario Churchill is a freelance author and has written over 200 articles on various subjects. For more information on free resume cover letter checkout his recommended websites.

Author: Mario J. Churchill