Early in my workforce development career, I saw a hot job lead in the want ads.
Because of my utmost confidence in my résumé writing skills, and expecting to land an interview, I faxed my résumé.
Sure enough, within 24 hours, my telephone rang.
As expected, it was the employer who placed the ad.
However, this call was not for an interview just yet.
He called to insist on a separate document that I neglected to send in the first place—a cover letter.
The importance of a cover letter
I was lucky that time.
Over the years I learned that there are many employers who will not consider you for a position if you do not include a cover letter in your response to their written job announcements.
Especially if the announcements expressly request you to do so.
Does it mean they will read your cover letter?
Yes and no as it depends on the individual employer.
My professional advice is not to take chances.
Always send a well thought out, well-written, well-structured cover letter!
As a certified professional résumé writer, I get queasy feelings when people ask me to write a cover letter for them unless they have a selected job in mind.
That way, I can tailor the cover letter and create the appearance of a perfect match for the job.
If you want to insult a potential employer, send a generic, one-size-fits-all cover letter.
You are sending a message that you're not very serious about the position, and are only looking for a paycheck.
The most effective cover letters are:
- Written to specific individuals
- At specific organizations
- Targeting specific positions
If I write a cover letter for you, it is important that you tweak it to your voice.
Give it your personality and let it exude your passion and ability to fit with the company’s vision.
No writer, not even Ernest Hemingway, can do that for you.
How do you write a cover letter that impresses employers?
- Study the job announcement
- Tailor your cover letter to the announcement.
- Use the important keywords and phrases listed therein.
- Browse the company’s website, and find something that resonates with you.
- Reference it at the beginning of your cover letter as a motivating factor in your joining their team.
- Such a statement sends a loud resounding signal to the employer that you might be a good “fit.”
- Employers value this more than mere qualifications.
- Effectively use the closing of your cover letter.
- Affirm to the employers that you look forward to the opportunity to meet with them personally in a job interview.
- Always thank them for their time and consideration.
Sample Cover Letter
Below, you will find a well-written sample cover letter that ...
- Outlines experience
- Includes specific career highlights
- Provides a strong closing
(For more on writing great cover letters, check out How To Write An Amazing Cover Letter With Examples.)