Cover Letters Are For…

Cover Letters Are For…

Cover letters – the talk of the town. We often hear many questions about the relevancy of cover letters. Do we need cover letters to apply for jobs? Do recruiters and hiring managers read cover letters? What purpose does the cover letter serve?

Let me tell you a story… At the turn of the century, I set my sights on pursuing a new career in human resources. I actually transitioned from a career in the health insurance industry, and you will never guess how I did it. I used a cover letter. That’s it! Okay, yes I also used a well-crafted resume but you get the point, right? Now, it was not just an ordinary cover letter and I did not regurgitate the contents already included in my résumé. I customized the cover letter by adding information I needed the Director of Human Resources to know about me but was not appropriate to include in the résumé.

My customized cover letter focused on the following key points, very enthusiastically:

  • Interest in pursuing a new career in human resources

  • Transferrable skills and relevant experience

  • How my skills, qualifications, and passion for the profession are assets that will complement the organization’s goals and mission.

At the end of the day, I received an interview. So cover letters are for (drum roll please)…improving your chance of receiving an interview! That’s it! Of course there are several other very useful reasons for cover letters, all with the shared goal of winning an interview.For instance, cover letters are always useful for providing additional explanations regarding:

  •  You – as a candidate and future employee

  •  Transitioning into a new career

  •  Seeking part-time employment in lieu of full-time employment

  •  Re-entering the workforce

  •  Pursuing a job for which you may be considered “over-qualified”

  •  Sending an unsolicited résumé

  •  What else…What else can you offer the potential employer? What else can you tell them about you? What else can XYZ Corporation expect you to bring to the table?

In the end, ask yourself two questions: “Do I want to increase my chance of getting an interview?” Or, “Do I want to increase my chance of not getting an interview?” Take your chances in crafting a customized cover letter. Actually getting an interview is the worst thing that could happen to you.


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