What is a resume cover letter? It is a piece of paper that is submitted along with your resume or curriculum vitae. Like its name indicates, a resume cover letter is a letter that is addressed to a person, and serves several important purposes related to your job hunting experience.
Purposes of a Resume Cover Letter
Contrary to common belief, the cover letter is not just an adornment or decoration to liven up your resume. Curiously, people think that because it has all the detailed information in it, resumes eclipse the cover letter in terms of importance, which is very, very wrong.
Resumes serve these purposes in relation to your application:
o It is the first document that recruitment officers see and read during the recruitment process. Resumes do not play an important role before the interview.
o It provides recruitment officers a sneak peek into what kind of a person you are prior to the interview.
o It provides you with a way to outline your qualifications and your interest without having to engage in a personal conversation with the recruitment officer.
To further contradict the misconception of the resume being more important, it is actually the cover letter that decides whether your application goes into the “For Interview” stack, or to the paper shredder and the trash bin. Cover letters that recruitment officers don’t find satisfactory surely ends into the latter.
Things to Consider When Writing a Cover Letter
It is important to give a considerable amount of time to writing a cover letter instead of just typing a letter. A cover letter is not something you give to your parents, friends or boyfriends. It is a letter that ends up in the hands of professionals, and thus should sound professional and not conversational.
First, the cover letter should be brief. A typical cover letter is only a page long. Any longer than that and the recruitment officers lose interest and toss your application to the trash while they move on to the next. In addition to being brief, the cover letter should be descriptive and informative about your intention to work for the company. To accomplish that, cover letters follow a specific structure.
A cover letter, because it is only a page long, covers only three paragraphs. Through those three paragraphs, you are supposed to answer three questions in the reviewer’s mind since the recruitment officer is trained to follow the letter’s structure.
First, introduce yourself and your intent to apply for the position. This is done in the first paragraph. Introduce yourself formally, and explain how you landed on the information that the position is vacant and needs to be filled up. Don’t go into broad details, just specifics.
Next, the resume cover letter’s second paragraph explains why they should hire you for the position. Include information like relevant college education as well as past experience that can provide merit to your qualifications.
Finally, the third paragraph will show how interested you are in the company itself and not just the job. Point out facts like company background, and how you can fit into the company’s mission and vision.
When writing a cover letter, keep in mind the common structure. However, you need not sound robotic. Introduce some creativity or personal flair while still sounding professional. As long as you take these considerations into mind, you will soon be landing the job that you have been seeking.