What Goes Into a Cover Letter?

We are a resume writing service, so why do folks always ask us to review their cover letter? Is a cover letter even something people use, or companies want these days? The cover letter is much like the thank you note. Some people need it, some want it and others dismiss it.

At companies I have supported I’ve literally had hiring managers overjoyed when they get a physical thank you note and some even just an email thank you, from a candidate who has been in for an interview. I’ll deal with thank you notes another time, but these same managers had differing opinions on cover letters.

Personally if a cover letter is longer than this blog post is up until this point…I will not read it and I go straight to the resume. If I like the resume I’ll go back to the cover letter.

Most people who attach a cover letter and a resume to their email when they submit to a job, will have a well thought out cover letter addressing that specific role and why they are a great fit. The cover letter runs on too long and they lose me.

Why can’t an email be the cover letter? Great question, it can, and is for me. An attached cover letter rarely gets opened, let alone read, in my office. Although we don’t officially work on cover letters we always suggest an introductory sentence, a few lines about how you differ and why you are a great fit for the role and a closing statement to thank the reviewer and reiterate your interest. I know, it’s old school….but as far as I’m concerned, so are cover letters.

Put that effort, and work experience, into your resume people. When I did open cover letters they were often more enticing than the resume. This is good and bad. It’s good because I’m getting more details about the person, but bad because they usually have just told me what I want to hear (spit back details of the job), but not be able to support their claims. I guess folks feel like they can better fudge a cover letter than a resume and this is why I don’t open cover letters


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