Employer Spotlight

Recruit Gen Y Stars

You need new tools to attract the new breed of talent - Experience will help you build your team with Gen Y stars.


Ease of Use

Our management dashboard helps you easily post jobs, pinpoint targeted candidates and manage your talent pipeline.


All Needles, No Hay

Don't wait for the best candidates to come to your door - with Experience, you can proactively target top talent.


Build Your Experience

Experience is your most important asset - we're here to help you find that next opportunity.


Tell Your Story

You're so much more than just your resume. Showcase your Experience.


Connections Matter

Introductions are made easy when you have Experience -- connect with alumni, mentors and industry insiders.


Use eRecruiting by Experience on campus?
Find your school here.

Home  > Article

Don't Apply Without a Cover Letter

By Anthony Balderrama

Chances are you went through several drafts of your resume before you submitted it to a prospective employer. You wrote and rewrote each line several times and had friends, family, even strangers proofread it. But if you send it off without enclosing a cover letter, your hard work may never be seen.

According to a survey, 66 percent of hiring managers prefer a good cover letter attached to a resume. Think of it as the first chance to stand out in a sea of applicants. Your cover letter, if done well, tells the hiring manager you are qualified for the job and a serious candidate. Perhaps more important is the opportunity to show your personality.

For this reason, many hiring managers discard any resumes that don't have cover letters. Omitting a cover letter tells the employer that you can't make the effort to sell yourself and to save him or her some time. Writing a cover letter is an easy way to keep yourself in the game.

Here are some things to remember as you write your cover letter.

It's your cover letter, not your memoir
Keep the cover letter to a few organized paragraphs that fit on one page. You want to give the reader a glimpse into your personality and your ability as an employee, but no one needs to know every little detail about your life.

Be yourself
Being yourself doesn't mean being your Saturday-night self. It means putting a little personality into your writing. Recruiters aren't looking for jokes, but they do want to know a real person is applying for the job. Just changing the "To" and "From" fields in a form letter will come across as lazy and generic. Use your own words and ideas.

Let the resume speak for itself
Hiring managers read the cover letter before they (hopefully) flip the page to look at the resume. They might decide they don't want to read the resume if your cover letter sounds like it's restating the exact same information without offering anything new. Discuss a specific achievement or experience that shows your qualifications for the job. The cover letter and resume combined give you their attention for only two pages, so don't waste it repeating yourself.

Know your audience
If your boss greeted you each morning by saying, "Hello, employee," you'd be irked she didn't know your name. Cover letters beginning "Dear Sir or Madam" and "To Whom It May Concern" leave similar impressions. If the job posting does not specify who will receive the applications, find out. Look online or call the company's main line to ask for the name of the corporate recruiter or hiring manager. Once you find out, use a formal title such as Mr., Ms. or Mrs. It adds a personal but professional touch that will be appreciated.

Why you want this job
Sure, a paycheck would be nice, but hopefully you want this job for another reason. The company's history, accomplishments and culture probably played a role in your decision to apply. Let the hiring manager know. It tells him or her that you've done your homework and are serious about being a member of the team.

Your manners
Even though job hunts are increasingly taking place online, you still need to adhere to business etiquette. As you would on any professional correspondence, include your full contact information as well as the hiring manager's name and company address. And of course, avoid any typos and grammatical errors, which include netspeak (k? thx).

Take your time
You already know how important a cover letter is, so don't rush through it. Treat it with the same care you used for your resume. Check your facts. Write several drafts, revise it and look it over again. Let your first impression be a good one.

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

More Related Articles

Simple Steps to Shape Up Your Resume
Writing a resume is a lot like hitting the gym: It requires initiative, dedication, and, at times, it can be daunting. In the long run, however, the hard work pays off and allows you to put your best foot forward with prospective employers.

Accomplishments Resume
Here is an example of an accomplishments resume.

Successfully Sell Yourself With Your Cover Letter
It is often said that finding a job is a job in itself. But what you may not realize is that it's a sales job. To win over hiring managers and convince them to invest in the product you're pitching - you - it?s important to take full advantage of every marketing tool at your disposal.

Google Web Search
Didn't see what you were looking for?
powered by Google
Copyright ©2017 Experience, Inc Privacy Policy Terms of Service