14 May How To Make A Cover Letter Match A Resume
Having read more resumes and cover letters than I care to remember, some clues have been assembled about how to make a cover letter do more than just be another page to a resume. Not all employers and interviewers bother to read a cover letter. I learned this from watching them in action from the job seeker’s perspective. There have been many times I have needed to refrain from saying, “You would know that if you had read my letter.” However, most of the time the cover letter is a businesslike but friendly way to open the door to your resume.
If your resume is generic and being sent to many prospective employers for various positions, your cover letter needs to begin by stating what specific job you seek. In a large corporation, a human resource person will be the first to scan the contents of your resume packet. With possibly dozens of job openings, a clearly defined job title is needed for your resume to have a prayer of reaching the right hands. If the letter is poorly written, the page will never be turned to look at the rest of the packet. If it is turned, it will be viewed by eyes jaded from the inferior introduction.
The quality of the cover letter should equal your resume. If you had your resume professionally done, you may want to look for help when writing the letter. People who read this material for a living will notice a sharp difference between the letter and the resume. This difference can make a person wonder about the integrity of the resume. Since the purpose of a resume is to open the door for an interview, you really do not want your integrity being questioned before the interview.
Professionally written resumes are not a problem unless the cover letter that you write looks more like grade school work. If your writing skills are not strong, get some help with the letter. This will keep the smile on the face of the reader.
The paper should roughly match. It is better if everything is on the same type of paper. This way it will not appear that the two documents were created separately. Everyone knows that resumes are just reproduced forms, but no one really likes to have it slap them in the face. So, if the paper matches and the letter is customized to fit the job, everyone pretends that you made it all up just for the one position.
Try to match the typestyle and font when producing the letter. Too much variation screams that the letter and resume are separate documents. This is all about you. These documents should draw attention to you and not to the paper or printing.
Pull a few items from your resume to highlight in your cover letter. Do not get too carried away with this. Somewhere around two to four items will be plenty. Make sure that these fit the job qualifications. Mention that these can be seen on the resume.
If there are skills not listed on the resume that is necessary for the specific job, list these skills. Make note of the fact that these skills are in addition to what is listed on the resume. Anytime the resume can be referenced of mention up to about three times in the letter is a good thing. Beyond that, it begins to sound redundant.