How highly a cover letter is rated generally depends on the recipient. That doesn’t make it at all easy to know if your cover letter is going to play a role in landing you the job or not. Since you cannot ascertain in advance if a cover letter will matter, it is best to include one and take great care in drafting it.

It is common to find a request for a cover letter within a job advert. If this is the case, it is essential that it is included. To omit it will almost certainly see your application placed in the ‘no’ file. After all, you just demonstrated that you cannot follow a basic instruction. So while it may seem time consuming and laborious to draft a letter, it is an opportunity to upsell yourself. Just follow this basic structure:

  • Paragraph one: outline your interest in the role and state that you are their ideal candidate
  • Paragraph two: succinctly state how your experience and qualifications relate to the job, highlighting your successes and how you can acheive successes in their organisation
  • Paragraph three: create a call to action by prompting the reader to contact you to discuss your application in greater detail
  • Close with ‘sincerely’ or ‘respectfully’ and don’t forget to sign your letter and type your name. Ensure your contact details are included on the letter as well as the resume.

What differentiates a cover letter from a resume is the cover letter allows you to build a rapport with your potential employer by sharing your personality with them. And by telling a story about yourself you become more memorable. Particularly if you can clarify how your abilities and experience can benefit their organisation. Employers are looking for reasons why they should hire you and helping them to envision you succeeding in their organisation will add strength to your application. It is also an opportunity to explain why you are seeking work with their organisation…I have recently relocated here…I am returning to the workforce after raising two children…these can sometimes be difficult situations to explain if you are simply submitting a resume. If you are required to submit your job application via email, then your message can be relayed within the body of the email rather than another attachment.

If you can, compose a letter that is befitting for all jobs you apply for. To write a letter from scratch every time you apply for a job can become arduous. Most of us are looking for a specific type of job role, so this is a suitable solution to overcoming a repeat of the entire process each time. Yet many jobs these days do require applications to be submitted online. If this is the case, consider tweaking your letter to reflect the key words within the job description. I state this because often online applications are scanned using key words. If your letter doesn’t mimic the job advert, the computer may not spit your application out as a ‘yes’.

While the consensus determines that the inclusion of a cover letter is more beneficial than excluding the letter, if the job advert specifically asks for a resume only, then only supply a resume. If the advert does not specifically state that a letter should be included or not, it is best to demonstrate initiative and forward a cover letter with your resume. Often the letter will prompt a closer scrutiny of your resume while your resume will provoke a phone call for an interview.

A letter can be more revealing than the traditionally formal resume. And in this job market, you need every possible advantage. To omit a cover letter could see you forego the opportunity to both sell yourself and gain an interview, thus the job. And if you are looking for a job, chances are you cannot afford to take the gamble. So equip yourself with a full arsenal of job search tools and increase your prospects of landing your ideal job role.

SJ Personnel can assist job seekers with composing a letter of application. Simply contact Sarah on 0487 591 660, or email sarah@sjpersonnel.com.au.

SJ Personnel…connecting you with your future

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