How to Write a Personalized Cover Letter
“A cover letter is sort of like a short biography which tells a story of how a candidate got to where they are today and is more of a formal introduction than just submitting a resume by itself” says Josh Davis, a professional bio and business plan writer for Careers Plus Resumes, LLC. Cover letters are an important part of the job search process for two main reasons which I will explain below.
Formal Introduction: Obviously formal introduction is necessary during any type of professional endeavor. If you have submitted countless resumes with no hits, you might be missing one key element that puts a more personal touch on your application. A cover letter is a formal introduction letter that lets the reader know you are a professional and serious about the job.
You took the time to prepare an extra document, above and beyond what the other candidates have done thus far. The reader will appreciate this extra effort and might make a note of it during the screening process. The formality of the letter is spoken in the opening statement, for example:
Attn: [HR Manager’s Name]
My name is [Your Name] and I am interested in your current opportunity for the position of [Position Title]. Therefore, I would like to submit my resume for your review and explain why I am the right candidate for the job below…
By making a formal introduction, you are not only making a more lasting first impression, but you are also demonstrating that you are willing to make the extra effort to get the job.
Summary of Your Background in a Nutshell: Cover letters should be simple and straight to the point. Most people confuse a cover letter with a biography, which is a more extensive portrayal that explains the full details of someone’s life and career. A cover letter should not be confused with a biography, period. When preparing a cover letter, you should convey why you feel you are the candidate for the job, followed by a short synopsis of your abilities, one or two key accomplishments, and then a quick paragraph of your relevant experience and education.
Try to avoid explaining your entire life history and be as concise as possible. Employers are just as pressed for time as you are, and creative writing comes in the form of being short while still getting the same points across. There is no need to say that you are married with kids, like to play sports, enjoy reading books, or anything to that nature in a cover letter. Again, this is not a biography. The following is an example of how a paragraph should appear:
Having served in Human Resources for the past 10 years, with continued success in meeting targeted recruitment and staffing objectives, I am confident that I can make a valuable contribution to your organization’s future projects and initiatives.
Along with an extensive background in employee relations and recruitment, I have excelled in several areas of workforce planning, staff development, employment laws, affirmative action, and benefits administration. In 2002, I was recognized for reducing employee turnover by 23% and realized cost-saving initiatives of over $22,000 annually.
My resume contains additional details regarding my experience, education, and personal career achievements. Thank you in advance for your time and review of my qualifications.
As you can see, the paragraph mentions what the candidate has done for the past 10 years, which areas they specialize in, and how they can contribute to a future employer followed by a couple of major achievements. You want to keep a cover letter to about three or four small paragraphs total, describing your key attributes and contributions in prior roles. Explain to the reader why you feel you are a strong candidate and give them a few verifiable accomplishments that can be found on the resume.
In summary, a cover letter is a very important document that every serious job seeker should include with their resume as a formal introduction and short story about their career background. A stronger first impression will definitely be made by including this document with your application.