Resume cover letters are possibly the single most important part of your resume. Resumes are just the cold hard facts about your experience and qualifications that must be reviewed to determine your candidacy. It provides your potential employer with a complete picture of yourself, your qualifications, and what makes you stand out from hundreds of other applicants. They are not as complex and mystifying as they may seem at first and are simply a short essay introducing yourself and explaining why you are applying for the position you are seeking. Creating one that highlights your motivations can be done quickly and with minimal effort when you learn how to do it properly.
Most job seekers focus too much on their resume when applying for jobs. Resumes should be updated frequently and are not to be discounted. However, resume cover letters bring your application to life just like including a recent face photo of yourself. It provides a clear, concise statement of why you are seeking a certain position and what you can bring to the job. It is your one and only chance in the pre interview stage to make your mark and separate yourself from the competition. Think about the fact that you probably compiled your resume first and the cover letter as an afterthought even though it is the first thing your potential employer will see. A great resume cover letter provides them with a reason to continue reading and actually look at your resume.
Do not overemphasize the importance of following a template for your resume cover letter. Proper formatting is expected and should be researched but keep in mind that your future employer is possibly reviewing hundreds if not thousands of similar applications. In this case, using a common template will seem boring and will lose someone’s interest easily no matter what the content of the letter. Also, don’t go overboard and pick a template or color pallet that will be difficult to read or just seem unprofessional and over the top. Strike a balance between a properly formatted letter and one that is unique enough to keep the reader’s attention long enough to soak up the important details.
Be careful to avoid the common pitfall of using your resume cover letter to only sum up your resume. This insults the intelligence of your potential employer as if they were unable to adequately read and review your resume or otherwise comes off as you fluffing up your writing for length or spacing purposes. Write it purposefully making specific points and highlighting qualifications along the way.
Resume cover letters may appear tricky to write or confusing on what to include in the body but once you have a few under your belt it will seem natural to compose. Be sure to spend adequate time on the creation, design, and format of your resume cover letter as it will be the first thing your future employer sees when reviewing your application and first impressions are everything.