Imagine a PB&J without the peanut butter or the jelly, Unimaginable! The same goes for sending a résumé with no cover letter. A résumé is of limited value to a prospective hiring manager without a cover letter communicating why you’re the ideal candidate for the specific job posted and demonstrating that you’ve done your homework on the company. Your cover letter accomplishes things that your résumé can’t and saves the hiring manager the time to figure out why you’re the best fit.
Hiring managers and recruiters spend a brief 7- to 11-seconds looking at a résumé to see if there’s a reason to read on. Think of it as the front page of the New York Times. A headline has to grab you enough to read the first couple of sentences which will then determine if you’ll continue reading and turn to the back page to finish the story. Same with a résumé. That’s where the cover letter comes in. It cuts to the chase and tells the hiring manager why you are an ideal fit for the position. Writing a brief but strong cover letter gives you a career leg up on other candidates.
In essence, a solid cover letter explains how you align with the specific responsibilities and requirements of the posted job and how you’ve met or exceeded them previously. It’s the difference between wearing a suit off the rack or having it custom tailored to make you look your best. And, cover letters are where can best address things like employment gaps or career changes in a positive way.
Cover letters should always be addressed to a specific person. Avoid “To Whom It May Concern” like the plague! And, don’t rely on spellcheck. Proof read your cover letter all the way through more than once (especially if you’re promoting your attention to detail!). Draw the reader’s attention to the strongest matches between what the employer is looking for and your most relevant skills, experience, or credentials; quantifying your achievements wherever possible. Demonstrate how your own values align with the company’s mission and vision. Their website can give your a great deal of information to use.
Keep your cover letter to a single page. It warrants re-emphasizing that employers don’t have the time or attention span to try and figure out what you’re trying to say. Make their job easier by being succinct and clear. When you get in the habit of writing cover letters you’ll find them easier and easier to create and more and more valuable in your career search.
It was a pleasure being Brad Davis’ guest on WDRC’s The Talk of Connecticut. Brad is celebrating his 42nd anniversary this year as morning host at WDRC AM and in 2015 was inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.
Brad and I spoke about the 2ND ACT speaker series at The Waterbury Palace and my presentation March 26th at 6pm. I’ll be sharing with you my own career reinventions so that my “lessons learned” can propel you into realizing your own next career adventure.
When we start the day we want to feel excited and motivated and inspired about what’s in store for us. We want to feel energized by the work we’re going to do, where we’re going to do it and who will be impacted by the value we bring. We want all our cylinders burning to fill the day with meaning and accomplishment. Unless those feelings are present in us when our feet touch the floor as we get out of bed, it’s a sure thing that the day will be unrewarding…and the one after that…and the one after that.
Identifying and living our life purpose come with the wonderful gifts we give ourselves to be authentic and earn a living doing what we love. It is exciting to set out on a career path in which our true talents are given freedom to emerge, express themselves fully and create a source of income. Continue reading Values: Our Career Lane Departure Alert→
When people hear the word “brand” they instantly think of “products” or “things on a store shelf” or “cool stuff we can order through Amazon.” The last association people make with “brand” is to themselves. Branding is not just about products. YOU are a brand. And, if you’re seeking a new career or looking for your next job your personal brand is your foundation for success. Continue reading PB&J: PERSONAL BRANDING AND YOUR JOB SEARCH→
"You've had such a varied and impressive career. It's awesome to read about your adventures and reinventions and how you're now helping others do the same," branding expert Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You, Stand Out and Entrepreneurial You