The cover letter remains a stumbling point for many job seekers. As a professional resume writer, I include cover letters in all the levels of my resume options because I believe a cover letter is essential in almost every job search.
When do you need a cover letter?
An easier question to answer is when don’t you need a cover letter? If you are dropping a resume off to the recipient or emailing it directly to the decision-maker, you might be able to drop the formal cover letter. However, in the case of emailing it to the decision-maker, you should still have a well-written note to the recipient about why you are qualified for the position.
What does the cover letter do for you?
If you consider the resume as a marketing document where the product is you, then you should consider the cover letter as the specific marketing notice that explains why you and your talents are exactly what the company needs in the position.
What do I need to know to write the best cover letter?
1. You need to know the industry and the company. You have to have done the research so that first, you understand the industry you are targeting and then the specific company. You need to know the products of the company inside and out so that you can speak to their needs in the cover letter.
2. If you mimic what the job description is looking for early in the cover letter, the reader or hiring manager will understand why you are applying for a specific job. Look at this example, transitioning from Hospitality to Financial Planning. She had 18 offers and is in her new role.
Throughout my career in the hospitality industry, I have built a reputation for confidentiality and discretion while working with elite guests. This skill set coupled with a profitability-conscious focus and a background in exceptional people management will make me an excellent candidate for an Associate Financial Advisor.
3. You will do better if you find specific areas in the job description that you are a direct match to and answer the question: “why should I hire you?” in several points of the cover letter. Here is a quote from an internal candidate’s cover letter, and yes, even internal candidates should have a cover letter if requested or to reinforce their qualifications. This client is now the Executive Director of her non-profit organization.
If I am chosen for the role of Executive Director, I believe I can help move the organization forward with the same innovative momentum you and Nancy have established in recent history. I deeply understand and appreciate the culture of the organization from the staff members, our client families, potential donors and, of course the club members.
4. Give specific examples of what you bring to the table. This bullet point was in the cover letter example for a client that now has landed a key position in a national non-profit organization.
Secured Angel Investor for $16 million capital campaign, start-up costs, and three years of ongoing operating support.
5. Ask for the job in the cover letter. Too many candidates leave off the ask. Both of these closes ask for the interview.
Overall, I believe that I bring all the many attributes you are seeking in the position of Executive Director and I would be thrilled to discuss my qualifications and our bright future with you and the selection committee in a personal interview soon.
I would enjoy the opportunity to discuss how I could help coordinate your annual fundraising programs and events. Please contact me to schedule an appointment at a mutually convenient time.
If you are struggling to write your resume and the cover letter that will bring you to the next level in your career, perhaps it is time to work with an expert.
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