If Your Resume is the Cake, Your Cover Letter is the Icing: How to Make Sure That Your Cover Letter Gets You Noticed

You Can Have The Best Cover Letter!!

Cover letter writing is almost as important a skill for a job seeker to learn as resume writing.  The cover letter accompanies the resume at all times as the primary support document.  No matter how you send your resume, your cover letter should always be sent with your resume.  There are, of course, other tools you’ll use when job seeking.  Your cover letter and resume come first, of course, followed by follow-up letters, thank-you letters for after the interview, reference sheets, salary histories, and job acceptance letters.  If you have good cover letter writing skills, and good resume writing skills, the other written tools should be a snap to compose.

Your Goals!!

Your goal in this is to get the attention of the hiring manager, just as it is with resume writing.  The method and format are a little different, however.  Your resume will cover all, or most of your professional career, and will be from one to two pages.  Your cover letter will be a very brief page serving as an introduction to the resume.  Cover letter writing style must be direct, to the point, and able to grab the attention of the reader quickly, with a goal of making the reader want to read the attached resume.

Short and Sweet!!

Many people, when engaged in this type of writing, have a tendency to say too much.  Good cover letter writing is short and punchy, and will take two or three key points from the resume and emphasize them.  The adage “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” holds true in both resume writing and cover letter writing.

As an example, let’s assume that you are seeking another position, where there is specific experience required in the job description.   Your writing efforts should reflect the buzz words in the job description to show your value to your current employer and any future employers.  Your resume will go into more detail about how you accomplished these goals.  The cover letter will simply point out to the hiring manager that you accomplished them.

Top Notch Writing!!

If your resume is the cake, your cover letter is the icing!  With their busy schedules, hiring managers devote only about fifteen seconds to each cover letter and resume he or she reviews.  With that in mind, your writing skills need to be top notch to get this person to read your cover letter.  In turn, your resume writing skills need to be just as good to get the reader to want to grant you an interview.  With this first step in polishing your cover letter, you will persuade the hiring manager to invite you to the office for an interview and, hopefully, offer you the position.  These steps will lead to a positive chain of events, which begin with good cover letter writing skills and will end with the job of your dreams!

Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at [email protected] or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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