Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why you need a cover letter
You may spend a lot of time creating the perfect resume but a powerful introduction by means of a cover letter will enable the recruiter to know more about you, your goals and your reasons for applying to the particular job.

Many job seekers are faced with the doubt over whether resume submission really needs to be accompanied with a cover letter. Well, consider the fact that on an average a recruiter spends only a few seconds scanning through each application. Each resume he/she reads follows more or less the same pattern; what will make your application stand apart from the rest is how you summarise your career profile and express interest in working for an organisation. A cover letter, sent along with the resume, serves that purpose. Let’s see how:

What does a cover letter tell the recruiter?
  • Keenness – A standard resume format does not provide a section for mentioning why you wish to join a particular organisation. A question usually reserved by the recruiter for the interview, you can address the same in a cover letter and thus state your reasons how a job change at this point in your career and towards the company is a well thought out career move.
  • Your profile specifics – You cover letter must specify the details of the job you are applying for – job ID and how you got to know about the opening. This helps the recruiter understand how your application landed in his/her inbox and the position you are targeting.
  • Your suitability for the role – In addition to the resume that you will attach along with the application, a cover letter reaches out to the employer and speaks about your professional profile in a manner that is unique to you. The recruiter reads a brief about your professional background (qualifications and work experience, skills) and your career plans for the future. This is vital information for him to understand how suited you are for the role.

What it does for you
  • Makes a connection with the recruiter – The cover letter is your first direct communication with the recruiter. It is also your chance to break away from the standard formal format that a resume prescribes and customise your job application to highlight your strong points, and since you are establishing a connection with a prospective future employer, allow your cover letter to convey the following:
    • That you know about the company’s history and achievements and applying here is the result of a well informed decision.
    • Your skills and career goals are in sync with the company’s objectives.
  • Projects your worth – While the resume merely lists your skill set and experience, a cover letter allows you to address the job opening’s requirements and convey to the employer why you believe you are the best person for the role.
  • Gets you the interview – A cover letter is a documented communication from you to the employer and your first chance to leave an impression. It allows you to present your professional profile in a unique way and serve as a direct request for being considered for an interview.

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