Why a Cover Letter MATTERS

Job openings always ask to see a resume and often ask for cover letters, but not always. So as a candidate you may think that a cover letter is an “option,” as in “not required.”

And it may well not be required, but it’s never not an option, not if you want to greatly increase your chances of getting an interview.

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A cover letter can be very powerful. It can help your application stand out in a sea of candidates with about the same skills, background and education requested in the job posting.  It can be “the determining factor” in whether or not you get called in for an interview.

The Many Benefits of a Cover Letter

  1. It helps you stand out.

As mentioned above, when having to choose who to interview among similar candidates, a well-crafted cover letter can end up being your golden ticket to the interview.

  1. It can showcase skills and background that don’t fit in a resume.

You are so much more than the work history on your resume. There are difficult projects you completed that need to be highlighted, challenges overcome in a job not easily delineated in a resume, skills possessed that aren’t required in a job description but which are helpful and should be described, and so on.

  1. You can target a cover letter easily for each position for which you apply.

Every account manager position is different from any other account manager opportunity and while your resume will speak highly of your abilities and accomplishments as an account manager in the past, your cover letter allows you to speak specifically as to how and why those skills will help this employer.

For example, the job posting mentions that the person selected for the account manager position will be expanding into a new product territory. You worked at your last employer for three years, but six months of your tenure there saw you expanding a product line’s sales by 150 percent in a new territory. An accomplishment such as that should be placed near the top of your cover letter to pique a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s interest! (And also mentioned on your resume.)

  1. A cover letter can explain gaps in your employment history.

Few of us have a job history with no breaks. If have a job history hole of more than six months, you can address the reason in the cover letter. This is especially important if the gap in work history is recent.

Examples: “After taking time off to complete my master’s degree in psychology in a year…” “After taking time off to raise my children until they reached elementary school age…” “After taking time off to help care for my father with Alzheimer’s disease…”

Bottom line? Always include a cover letter for each application. Write a different cover letter for each position, highlighting the skills, background and accomplishments relevant to the position that showcase your value to the employer.

We’ve been helping Southern Californians find – and land – great jobs for 45 years, so we know a thing or two about making candidates attractive to employers. If you’re looking for new opportunities, check out our current job postings and then either apply (don’t forget the cover letter!) and/or contact the Helpmates office nearest you. Contact us to learn more about our recruiting services.

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