Why You Should Still Send A Cover Letter
Email has transformed the way that we communicate as we have exchanged the written letter for an electronic copy, usually quickly typed from our computer keyboard or via cell phone text messaging or with a PDA device. Clearly, the communication rules are changing but one thing remains just about the same: you need to include a cover letter with your resume.
Sure, there are exceptions, specifically when an employer tells you that one isn’t necessary, but if you are attaching your resume to an email, don’t you think that at the very least a few sentences about you can come in handy?
Hard Or Soft Copy: Much Remains The Same
Whether sending your resume off via email or snail mail, there are some things about a cover letter which hold true. Let’s take a look at the cover letter essentials, a document which can make or break you:
Your contact information: If you are sending your cover letter via email, then your contact information is your email address. However, leaving nothing to chance, you may want to conclude your letter with your name, address, phone number, and repeat your email address. On a hard (printed) copy of your cover letter, this information should go on top of your cover letter just as it is found on your resume.
Today’s date: Only necessary on the hard copy of your letter, as your email will be date-stamped when it has been sent electronically.
The printed version of your cover letter should include the contact person’s name, title, company and address (city, state, zip). Of course, when sending it electronically getting the contact person’s name right is very important, if known. Otherwise Ladies and Gentlemen:
will be the proper salutation to use.
Body of the Letter: The usual “Dear: So and So” should be followed by two or three brief paragraphs where you mention the specific job you are interested in; followed by your qualifications, skills, and education; your interest in the company; and concluding with your desire to set up an interview. The “body” part should be the same whether your cover letter goes out as an email or is printed.
I leave nothing to chance by almost always “signing” my email and concluding it with contact information. Do likewise when sending a hard copy and send both the cover letter and resume off via snail mail or attach the resume in an email and send it out that way.
In some cases companies refuse attachments in a bid to avoid you inadvertently transferring a virus with your email. In that case, write your cover letter and immediately after your concluding part cut and paste your resume and have it follow the cover letter.
Standing Out From The Pack
Some people wonder, “why all the bother with a cover letter?” Well, companies screen candidates and one way they decide who is worth considering are those people who pay attention to detail.
You don’t want to give a company reasons why not hire you before you have a chance to demonstrate in person why you’re their best candidate. A cover letter can make the difference for the person who spends a little extra time crafting a winning copy.
Special thanks to LisaRae, whose Palm photograph graces this page.