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Career Coach

The Importance of Cover Letters

Published August 7, 2013 2:12 PM by Renee Dahring
Don't underestimate the importance of a cover letter. Recruiters and hiring managers are far more likely to take note of your application when you include a cover letter. And it's imperative that you be noticed. Because, if you are not noticed you won't be invited to an interview - it's as simple as that.  

Here are three major reasons a cover letter is key to a successful job search. 

  1. A cover letter showcases what we call your "soft skills." Before I hire you, I need to fully evaluate your ability to communicate. A cover letter provides an example of your written language skills but also gives me some insight into your thought processes and sometimes even your personality. I need to know you can organize and express yourself in writing. If I receive a cover letter that is articulate and free of grammar and spelling errors I will feel more confident about your communication skills and feel assured that you have a good eye for detail. If properly formatted (a cover letter should always be written in a standard business format) I will also be impressed by your manners. In this day and age of emails and text messages it's refreshing to see a "proper" letter!
  2. A cover letter can help fill in or clarify some points in your resume. Resumes are meant to be short and sweet and provide only a snapshot of your experience and skills. Cover letters, however, allow you to tell me a much more in-depth description about yourself and why you see yourself as a match for the position. In other words, you can help me to see and feel your passion. On the other hand, if you send me a rambling dissertation that doesn't tell me much more than you really, really, want the job, I am not likely to have a very favorable impression of you.
  3. Because you took the time to compose a unique cover letter to me this tells me you are very interested in my position. A well-written cover letter indicates that you have taken the time and energy to learn about my organization which supports that you are genuinely interested in working for me. But, if you send me a generic one-size-fits-all letter I am not going to feel very special. Cover letters that are boilerplate and lack detail tell me that you didn't care enough to put much effort into your application. And quite frankly, if you don't care that much about your application, then I won't either.  


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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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