Archives for posts with tag: resume

A lot of emphasis is placed on having a well-written resume and the importance of cover letters is often overlooked.  While cover letters are not always required, they have the potential to make a candidate stand out to an employer.  

The growth of digital has caused a shift from the pre-digital days of fax or snail mail to the current use of online portfolios and interactive resumes.  Another change in cover letters is the recommended length and the formatting of the letter.  Cover letters can easily become a long, somewhat unnecessary recap of a resume–but we recommend short, to-the-point cover letters, especially for email. Simply recapping your resume could hurt you instead of helping.  

David Silverman, blogger for the Harvard Business Review and former executive, explains that the best cover letter he received was three sentences long and basically an introduction to the applicant’s resume.  If your cover letter is a summary of your resume, keep it short and to the point, there is no reason for your cover letter to be an overly wordy, overly long summary of your resume.  But the point of a cover letter is to further explain what you will bring to the job, therefore, only focus on experience and qualities pertinent to the job, including accomplishments that demonstrate traits you can’t communicate in a resume.  

Yes, some employers like David Silverman prefer a concise cover letter or even no cover letter at all, this is by no means a universal sentiment.  Some industries, particularly  law and architecture, depend on cover letters to distinguish candidates from one another.  These industries take into account more than just the basic qualifications when looking to hire.  Furthermore, for jobs that require a substantial amount of writing, cover letters provide the opportunity to showcase your writing ability.  

Finally, there are some basic guidelines that should be followed when writing a cover letter.  Avoid antiquated phrases such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam”. You should always address the person who is reading your resume directly. If you do not know, and cannot discover, the name of the person who will be reading your resume, consider omitting the salutation line altogether. Also, make sure to follow the employer’s guidelines for sending a resume.  Some employers will specify to attach the cover letter in an email instead of putting it in the body of the email, or vice versa–follow these instructions.  And thoroughly read through your cover letter for any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

For a guide to writing resumes read our previous posts here and here.

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