.Cover Letters are Necessary!
What Instances Require a Cover Letter
Cover letters are simply a letter of introduction. In these letters you are explaining who you are and why you are writing to the resume reader. It is a matter of courtesy that you introduce yourself when you are requesting something of them, in this case an interview.
Cover Letters Should Be Brief and Simple
My rule is - if you are not shaking hands with the hiring decision maker and introducing yourself, then you need a cover letter to introduce you. If you are shaking hands with the hiring manager, you are introducing yourself verbally and requesting an interview. In this case, hand them your resume without a cover letter.
On the other hand, if you are sending a resume by mail, if you give your resume to a friend to hand in, or if you leave your resume with the hiring manager's secretary then you are not shaking the hiring manager's hand and you need to have a cover letter enclosed with your resume.
Cover Letter Content
Hiring managers only glance at cover letters. They have 50+ resumes to read out of which they will select a few candidates for interviews. I recommend letters be 3-4 paragraphs.
Many people provide lengthy autobiographies in the cover letter. They regurgitate their resume and then some. This is a waste the writer's and reader's time.
Address these 4 topics in a succinct manner and the hiring manager will be grateful.
1) For what position are you applying?
2) How did you learn of the position or company?
3) Why are you perfect for the position?
4) Who will contact who?
I usually cover 1 & 2 in the first paragraph and a paragraph each for 3 & 4.
You can obtain examples of a few excellent cover letters that will make letter writing simple, by clicking to the Cover Letter Examples section.
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