Your Cover Letter: Why It’s Important and How to Write One

cover letter

There’s an old saying that reminds us: “you can only make one first impression, so you’d better pull out all the stops to make the most positive one that you can.” Whoever came up with that phrase could have been talking about a cover letter.

At its core, a cover letter is exactly what it sounds like. It is a short document that you send along with your resume to help provide a recruiter with additional information. The letter often lists your skills and experience to help a hiring manager in their decision. It’s also an incredible opportunity to really stand out in a crowded field. A cover letter can help get someone excited about the prospect of working with you. To make sure yours is the best that it can be, here are some things to keep in mind when writing a cover letter.

What a Cover Letter Focuses On

First, don’t let the name fool you. A “cover letter” doesn’t need to be an actual physical letter these day. It could just be the body of an email that you’re sending with your resume attached. Whether it’s a letter or an email, make sure you include any details that you didn’t fit into your resume or application. This can help you be confident that you’re using it in the right way.

How Your Cover Letter Should Be Written

Be sure to keep your cover letter short, sweet and to the point – you’re not writing a novel. Just get across those essential bits of information. This includes: who you are, why you’re applying, and what you bring to the table that nobody else can. Anything that falls outside of the boundaries of those three ideas probably doesn’t need to be there. Make sure you also take time to proofread your cover letter. Don’t let a silly little mistake distract from your accomplishments.

What Else You Should Consider Highlighting

Finally, be sure to include all relevant contact information, even if it is already on your resume. Pretend that the letter is the only thing that someone sees. Make sure it gives them enough to feel good about you as a potential worker. Then, ensure your contact information is easy to find. They may need it to ask you for clarification, more information, or even an interview.

In the end, a cover letter is so much more than just a formality on your job search. It’s an invaluable opportunity to really set the tone for a relationship. It gives someone a quick idea of why yours is a resume worth considering. That’s why it’s an opportunity that you absolutely want to take full advantage of. It may just mean the difference between success and failure as your job search continues on.

About the Author: Stephen Lilley earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Over the last decade as a professional writer he has written more than 15,000 unique pieces of content in areas ranging from entertainment to technology to finance, real estate and more. 

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