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Kristen Fife's Blog

Using A Cover Letter

2020-08-29 11:10:16

I volunteer as a moderator and resume reviewer on the FB "Free Resume Review" group. There have been many discussions around cover letters: include them, don't include them. Who reads them, who does not.

I am going to give you some guidance on the role of the cover letter. The cover letter is an introduction from you to someone about a particular *job*. The biggest misconception I see is the belief that a cover letter will EXPLAIN why you are a fit for a particular position. Here's the thing: if your resume/CV doesn't have a direct correlation to the job you are targeting, a cover letter isn't going to CHANGE anything. It is your RESUME that is important, not the cover letter. You could write me a BOOK about why you are great for a specific position, but if you don't meet the stated minimum requirements, I'm going to pass.

A cover letter is MOST effective when you are messaging/emailing someone; put it in the body of your message/email. Keep it relatively short, but MAKE IT TARGETED. NEVER EVER use a singular template for every cover letter; that leaves a really bad impression. I cannot *tell* you the number of cover letters I have seen that reference a different job and company than the one a candidate is applying for. You need to write a different cover letter for every job you are applying for, addressing the specific position - making parallel connections to YOUR direct experience and what the job posting is listing.

I have plenty of articles and guidance for constructing/including cover letters, so I won't go into it here. Just remember that the cover letter won't change your qualifications for a specific job if you are not qualified for the basic requirements, a cover letter is not going to increase your chances at all.

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