What is the purpose of a cover letter?
A.K.A., How to Fancy Gift Wrap Your Resume
The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to the prospective employer or search committee that has the job you are seeking. Your cover letter gives the employer an idea of who you are, and of what you are capable, by summarizing your skills and experience.
The cover letter should enable the interviewer to see what it is that you offer, what makes you better than the other applicants. Consider the cover letter your seduction of the prospective interviewer or review committee.
While the cover letter provides an overview of your skills and special capabilities, it does not repeat your resume. Instead it’s a precursor to the resume, the thing that makes them want to give your resume a first look.
An effective resume quantifies your ability (by showing numbers, results, impact, how much you’ve done, percentage change). The cover letter, in contrast, qualifies your skills and experience. It speaks to what you’re capable of, your symmetry with the industry and why you think you’d be especially primed for that position/why you think you’d be a good fit for that position and that company.
The cover letter is concise, to the point and gives a sense of who you are and what you offer. It is, to whip a dead horse, the intro, the seduction, the expert flirt or tease. Like the Marilyn Monroe of yesteryear or the Angelina Jolie or Zac Efron of current times, it’s the packaging that inspires the reviewer to unwrap the gift and take a closer look at what’s beneath the fancy packaging.
So get your Marilyn Monroe, Beyonce, Brad Pitt or Chatum Tanning on. Prepare the most effective resume that represents your experience, then top it off with a fancy gift box with extra cool wrapping and a snazzy ribbon on top; that’s the cover letter that makes the job interviewer want to stop and take a deeper look at what you have to offer and why you might be the best candidate for the job they’ve got.
Hop to it. You can click on the link below for a cover letter template, or contact us directly if you’d like your letter written by one of your experts.