June 21, 2018

Jobseekers: Sign In | Sign Up Recruiters

Career Advice

Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Netting Out Cover Letters

Cover letters need to be crafted individually for each job.

A standard boilerplate cover letter is usually perceived as such and a waste of time for those reviewing responses to job openings.

The job of the cover letter is to, first, respond to the job requirements by matching your experience and capabilities to what they're asking, and, second, by adding anything that isn't on your resume that you think may be useful you can help them make up their mind to invite you in for an interview. Cover letters must be short, to the point, and can't waste the prospective employer's time.

In a specialized field, such as the Communications field, my suspicion is that most cover letters will be read, but I've heard of instances in which the HR Department discarded the cover letter before forwarding the resumes they felt passed muster to the department doing the hiring. The breaks being the breaks, my guess is it's always better to write a cover letter.

It goes without saying that the resume must always corroborate and parallel the information you put in your cover letter, unless you're specifically pointing out something that isn't in it yet confirms that you have a specific qualification.

I once did an exercise for a workshop on cover letters and resumes that took a job description, a real one, as the basis for a cover letter and showed the participants how we could write a cover letter in less than fifteen minutes by feeding back what was in the ad or job listing. Some of the participants told me afterwards that they'd spent hours agonizing over and then writing each cover letter. It's been my experience with clients that this works, often resulting in interviews.

If any one reading this wants to see a sample cover letter or two, I'll be glad to send them out to them.

- Larry Light, Job Coach

Top of Page