Approximately 75% of all the applications that we receive for jobs are without cover letters. While we all know that a resume is important to the job search process, it is not necessarily the most important document you will need to secure an interview. In fact a strategically targeted cover letter is the most important weapon you need to fight this battle and to win it. There are two key reasons why.
- The cover letter allows you to target the job and the employer in a very specific way, leaving the resume to market your skills, qualities and experience as a part of the bigger picture. Your resume then needs less tweaking with each application because the letter, which must be different each time, does that for you.
- A great cover letter should not just repeat your resume in a shorter form, but should tell the employer what it is about the job that is attractive to you and why you want to work for that employer. You will also need to include the unique skills and the qualities you bring to that job and the company.
Writing a killer cover letter requires thought, knowledge and understanding.
Almost all employers and recruiters of professionally managed companies read the letter first. Some will not even consider your resume until they are satisfied by the content of your letter. So it is a very important document.
- You will need to do research on the employer and the job before writing the letter
- It will need to be written in an engaging style using keywords applicable to the job
- In the letter you will need to show that you have made the effort to learn about their company by acquiring relevant knowledge before going to the interview, if you are chosen.
But what do you do if the employer is not disclosed in the job advert ?
Well, the letter still has to be written specifically to the job addressing the key requirements stated and your enthusiasm needs to shine through. No letter can just say “here is my resume” if you want a call for an interview. You will need to convey:
- You have reviewed the job requirements thoroughly and understood the business
- The company is the employer of your choice
- You believe that your personality fits with the organisational culture (providing it does)
- You really want to work for an organisation with your values
These all will help you to sell you and your skill to the company. The cover letter needs as much attention and skill in the preparation as your resume. So do not just attach and send the CV without cover letter if you do not wish to be ignored.