A cover letter is sometimes required as part of your application and can give recruiters more information about you and your aspirations. Make sure to send a cover letter in if one is explicitly stated as a requirement for a job you’re applying to! In these situations, a cover letter can make or break an application.
Why do I need to send in a cover letter? I’ve already put my accomplishments on my resume.
In addition to helping recruiters gather more information about applicants, many jobs require cover letters because they help limit the number of applicants for a given position. Recruiters judge applicants who are willing to invest time and effort in constructing a cover letter as more likely to be committed than those who are not.
You can use this to your advantage: Applying for jobs with cover letter requirements will likely reduce the amount of competition you face for a position.
What should I include in a cover letter?
Recruiters are trying to assess your personality and how well you “fit” with the position you are applying for.
1) Anecdotes and Keywords
As a result, your cover letter should include anecdotes that align with what the job description is looking for. Include relevant keywords from the job description, and focus on explaining the impact you had in your anecdotes and their relevance to the job you are applying for.
2) Avoid repeating points covered in your resume
Do not make it a laundry list of items from your resume. Your cover letter should showcase your motivations, your ambitions, and your reasons for applying to a specific job and company.
3) Non-work related interests and hobbies
Your cover letter can also be a good place to talk about some of your interests outside of work and school, such as volunteering or hobbies. Showcasing these activities may add something unique to your candidacy that the recruiter can use as an icebreaker during an interview!
Think of the anecdotes you introduce in your cover letter as potential conversation starters in an interview. If you give the recruiter a handful of concrete examples to reference in an interview, you are making their job easier and the likelihood of you landing an interview higher. You will also be making your own interview easier as you have prompted the conversation with topics you are familiar with!
Good luck! And, as always, if you have questions about cover letters please send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.