Being competitive as a candidate in today’s still extra tight job market requires extra attention to detail to stand out in the crowd. Fewer jobs and more candidates mean Recruiters and Hiring Managers are reviewing more resumes today than they have in a very long time. One way to bring your resume to the top of the stack is through a well constructed cover letter attached to your resume or application.
Cover letters are a disappearing art, we rarely see anymore. However, when they are well written they can provide an concisely crafted snapshot of you and tell a story that can’t possibly be told in your resume.
Through a cover letter you can explain why you are applying to a job from out of state, why you are interested in a position that doesn’t align with your past work experience, gaps in employment and additional accomplishments that would make you a top candidate. You can also give examples of your strong work ethic, write why you would like to work for the company and provide many other pieces of critical information about you that will entice the Recruiter to put your resume on top of the stack and not in the circular file.
To make your cover letter stand out and get you the attention it deserves, take the time to research the name of the Recruiter or Hiring Manager and write the letter to that person. Salutations of “Dear Hiring Manager” will be a big turn-off and likely discarded. The same applies to canned letters that do not specifically address each particular position you are applying to.
I have received canned letters for positions which do not exist in the company I was recruiting for. Some have been compelling statements of why the individual was applying for that position. To me they were compelling reasons to not call the candidate. Why would I call someone who desperately seeks a position as a Medical Coder if company does not employ Medical Coders?
There is no doubt that taking the time to write personalized, targeted cover letters is time consuming. Remembering that you are “working” to find a job should motivate you to create a one page spell-checked, polished introduction to who you are, why you want the job and why you are the right candidate.
Isn’t it time to pick up the phone, call the receptionist to ask the name of the Recruiter and get writing?