You've found the job you want and have spruced up your resume in hopes of getting it. Now all you have to do is submit it, right? Not so fast!
Every resume should have a great cover letter to go with it.
So what's a cover letter? And why do you need one?
This lesson will help you answer these questions as you explore interactive examples. Specifically, you will learn the purpose of a cover letter, identify the main parts of a cover letter, find out what makes a cover letter effective, and use several cover letter dos and don'ts as you write your own cover letter.
What is a cover letter?
As discussed in our Resume Writing tutorial, prospective employers use your resume to learn about your education, skills, and work history, as well as who you are and how to reach you. Your cover letter has a slightly different purpose.
As the name implies, a cover letter is a document that introduces you and accompanies your resume. It is what a hiring manager will see first.
In a competitive job market, hiring managers may get hundreds of resumes for only one position. Going through all of them can be time consuming. To alleviate the time strain, most hiring managers will quickly read over or scan cover letters to decide which resumes to read more closely.
Cover letters provide YOU with an opportunity to:
- Demonstrate how well you express yourself and that you have researched the organization and position
- Tell prospective employers what position you’re interested in, why you are interested in it, and how you came to know about it
- Highlight a few key skills that demonstrate your qualifications for the specific organization and position
- Thank the hiring manager in advance for her time and consideration
Cover letters provide HIRING MANAGERS with a chance to:
- Decide whether to look at your resume
- Select a small number of resumes to read more closely
Both resumes and cover letters should be customized for each specific job opportunity. If you see a job posting that requests a resume, send both a cover letter and resume.
Include a cover letter every time you submit a resume for a job, even if you are emailing it or uploading it to a job board!