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Cover Letter Writing

 

Resume Cover Letter Tips

I am frequently asked for resume cover letter tips. I have found there are four questions they want answered most often.  Everyone wants to know if cover letters still exist and are cover letters still vital for job applications.  What’s the difference between a general and specific cover letter?  Is there a standard resume cover letter template I should use?  And, should I hire a professional resume cover letter writer

Are Resume Cover Letters Necessary For Job Applications? 

Let’s start with question number one. The average number of people who apply for a job posting is 118 and only 20% of those individuals will get an interview. With competition being steep cover letters are the one thing that can set you apart. You should always utilize an opportunity to stand out amongst other candidates. Many candidates have landed their dream jobs this way. In addition, if an application is asking for a cover letter, you want to show that you read the directions, followed them and put your best foot forward. Even if the application does not ask for a resume cover letter, you can submit it as a supplemental document. Many times, candidates have additional things they want employers to know about them outside of their resume. Look at a cover letter as a chance to tell them your story, explain your passion and how what they need in a candidate aligns with your skill sets.

Now the necessity of a cover letter depends on the industry you work in and are applying to. For example, my clients applying to legal jobs need cover letters for every application, while I have some marketing clients that only need cover letters for certain applications. The truth is it varies for everyone. However, it never hurts to have a general cover letter prepared and ready for when the right occasion arises. 


A General Resume Cover Letter VS Specific Resume Cover Letter Writing

Question two: you may be wondering what’s the difference between a general cover letter and a more specific cover letter? A general cover can be used to apply for any job and a specific cover letter is tailored toward a specific job application only. There are advantages to both.

A General Resume Cover Letter

A general resume cover letter helps you focus on three major skills you want to highlight and sell to employers. These help the employer see the big picture of who you are. It also helps to make your brand story transparent. Brand story is defined by who you are, what you have to offer and how that’s illustrated in several of your positions throughout your career. Remember, this cover letter focuses on skills you select to highlight. We all have many skill sets. However, it’s important to ask yourself what the three most transferable and applicable skills that relate to any job you’re going after. 

You may come up with an answer like leadership skills if you’re a manager or applying to a leadership role. This is a great choice. 

The next step is to find three examples of how you show your leadership skills in your current role or in past positions. To complete the resume cover letter, you would repeat this process for the two skills you have remaining. Always finish a cover letter by reiterating your interest in the role and offering to provide any additional materials they need for your candidacy.

A Specific Resume Cover Letter

A specific resume cover letter should be tailored each time you apply to a different job. These are awesome at pinpointing your specific skillsets and making it clear why you fit the details of the job description. A specific cover letter can take the form of a chart. 

One side will state here is what you are looking for in a candidate and on the other side of the chart is labeled here is how I meet those requirements. Whether in a chart or paragraph format this helps the employer see line for line how you match all the requirements of the job description. 

You would still finish the resume cover letter by reiterating your interest in the role and offering to provide any additional materials they need for your candidacy.

A Standard Resume Cover Letter Template

Question number three, there is no one right way to write a cover letter, but most professional resume and cover letter writing services do follow general industry practices. In deciding what template to use you have the option to search for resume cover letter examples and show your professional writer the style you prefer. Let them know if you want a general cover letter or a specific one. Choose the type that will best suit your job search and budget.

Should I Hire a Professional Resume Cover Letter Writer? 

Finally question four, whether you need a resume, cover letter or other professional documents, your job search should never be left to chance. Always consider hiring a cover letter editing service if you don’t know the up to date best practices for resume cover letter writing. 


Resume Cover Letter Tips To Write Your Own

Lastly, here are a few tips to consider if you decide to write your own cover letter:

  1. A resume cover letter is not the full story you tell in an interview; therefore, it should be concise and fit into one page.

  2. The cover letter should not sound redundant to the resume reader. Give it some personality, make it stand out by including parts of your story and personal brand.

  3. Your cover letter should be consistent with what you represent on your resume. This means the same font and style. It should look like a package. Remember you are selling yourself as a brand.

  4. Make your career story consistent. A hiring manager should be able to read your resume cover letter by itself and know that it matches the story you tell in your resume. Don’t leave them wondering if this is the same person?

  5. Be specific. Don’t just say I can do the job well and that’s why you should hire me. Illustrate times in your career where you brought about the results they are currently looking for. Connect the dots for the hiring manager by pin pointing your precise experiences as they match the job description.

  6. Always ask for the interview. In your closing paragraph don’t be afraid to be bold and ask for the interview. It’s as simple as stating: Thanks for considering me as a candidate I am interested in learning about the next steps in the interview process. But don’t hit submit until you make a clear ask.

  7. Always include a phone and email address not one or the other. You need both. You can’t predict how the hiring manager will reach out to you and it’s best to have their preferred method available to them. Imagine if they are busy doing a mass outreach to candidates via phone and then when they get to your resume they are at a halt because you don’t have a phone number listed. It’s best to make it as easy on them as possible.


Resume cover letters are still a great way to add information you couldn’t fit in your resume. But always remember it should only include information that would qualify you for an interview. Don’t view your cover letter as a place to cram everything about you that you couldn’t put in your resume rather than a place to add the most vital qualifications the employer needs to know. Remember, your goal is to land an interview. You can always fill the hiring manager in on your full work history and all your key contributions when you meet for the interview.


I hope these tips on resume cover letters will benefit you and help you land the perfect job or career.  If you have any questions or need more information, I would be happy to help.  Please contact me here or call at 919-808-2251.

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