Attach a Letter to the Resume to Highlight Skills
A cover letter is a one page document that is included with a resume when applying to potential jobs. The cover letter highlights skills and accomplishments as they coincide specifically with the duties and qualifications mentioned in the job announcement. The letter should cover why the applicant is best for the job with examples of past performance in previous jobs.
Personalize the Letter
Rather than a generic greeting of “To Whom It May Concern”, conduct a little detective work to discover who the letter should be sent to. This may be the hiring manager or the director of human resources. Use networking skills to find out the person’s name so the cover letter can be more personalized. When addressing the letter, do not use first names in the greeting.
In the opening paragraph of the cover letter, let the hiring manager know how the position within the company was found. Specify the newspaper, online website or networking contact. If the position was learned of through a mutual contact, this is the time to name drop. Indicate the name of the position or the reference number for the job within the company.
Relate Skills to the Qualifications
In the second paragraph of the cover letter, detail skills and achievements as they relate to the qualifications and duties that were listed in the job announcement. Be specific when listing skills by providing examples. Do not simply reiterate what is on the resume. Use examples that are not listed on the resume or further expand on them within the cover letter.
Instead of stating “Implemented a customer service training program that improved customer service..”, rework to be specific by stating “Developed a six week customer service training program that resulted in a 30% increase in customer satisfaction within three months.”
State the Intent to Follow-Up
In the closing paragraph, state how follow-up with the hiring manager will occur. Give a timeline of when a phone call will be made or an email will be sent to set up an appointment to learn more about the position or for an interview. End the letter with a professional closing such as “Sincerely” followed by a signature and typed name.
Proofread the cover letter for spelling and grammatical errors before sending it with a resume. If possible, have another person also proofread it to ensure it reads well and is error free. Print the cover letter and resume on a white or beige linen paper for delivery to the company.
A well-written cover letter that showcases abilities in relation to the advertised position can move the resume to the top of the stack. Highlight strengths and mark a calendar to follow up with the manager in a few days.