I’ve had candidates ask me time and time again if it is really important to have a cover letter. The answer to this question is always the same: Is it important for you to have the job?
Think of your cover letter as another step to showing your refinement, that you are a cut above the rest. Taking the extra time and effort to create a cover letter can go a long way to winning you the interview. The cover letter serves a few important functions.
- It introduces you to the company and makes you more than 12pt Times New Roman font on a piece of paper. This is an opportunity for you to give the “heart sell” to a hiring manager. Let them know your passion for the job and that if you are hired what you will do to make their organization better. This is a great place to use the words “I” and “Me” that you don’t want to use on your resume.
- Are you willing to relocate? Oftentimes candidates from out of town apply to positions and hiring managers toss their resumes. Why? Because they only want to speak to serious candidates. There is nothing worse than a hiring manager thinking they have their candidate only to find out he or she was just testing the waters. This is a great opportunity to indicate that you noticed that the position is in another area, but will be looking to relocate if you gain the opportunity. Maybe this is where you grew up, or where your fiancé lives. Let the manager know that there is a reason you are targeting their area.
- Presumptive selling. Sounds weird, I know, but this is an opportunity to sort of push yourself into an interview. Let the manager know in the cover letter that you are available to interview on specific certain dates. By nature they will think in their mind what they have going on during those times and mentally pencil you in. If they like what they see on the resume, they will without a doubt revert back to your suggested interview times.