Yes, you do need a cover letter

First I need to say “what a great week”.  There were a few United Way events in Madison  for American Family that were fantastic.  I spent a few days volunteering and loved it.

Now how about those cover letters?  I was a bit surprised at the responses and here is why.  Only 76% of the respondents said a cover letter is needed.  That leaves 21% saying no cover letter was needed and the one response for “what is a cover letter”.    I just had a feeling one person would click that option.

My view is a cover letter should always go along with a resume.  The cover letter is a great way to describe your motivation and highlight your fit for the position.   When a cover letter is included with the resume, it makes me feel like you have taken the extra time and effort to really present your skills. 

Here is what I suggest for a good cover letter.  Keep the cover letter less than one page and no more than four well written paragraphs.  The cover letter should not be longer than the resume.  Here is what I suggest you focus on in the cover letter:

Paragraph One – List the position and company (or department) that you are applying to.   Be exact as you can.  It tells me you know what position you are applying to.  CAUTION – don’t forget to change this when you apply to a different position.

Paragraph Two – Highlight your skills and experience related to this position.  Don’t try to make this another resume, but add a few details that tell the reader you have the skills they are looking for.

Paragraph Three – Thank the reader for reading your information and invite them to contact you.  Add a line about your excitement for the position.

This is just a high level view for a cover letter, but take a look at this link on About.com for a sample.  http://jobsearch.about.com/od/coverlettersamples/a/covertemplate.htm  There are thousands of examples on the web so do a search on “free cover letter samples” to gather more information.  If you find a site you like, share it to me through the blog.

Take care,

Scott

2 Comments

  1. Kirby Kerschner
    Posted October 11, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Scott,

    I applied for a claims associate adjusters position in Kansas-Wichita recently. My question is how, when will I know if I’m selected or not selected for an interview relating to this position?

    Thanks for any input you have,

    Kirby

  2. amfamscott
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Kirby,

    I will email you to talk about your application to the claims adjuster position.

    Respectfully,

    Scott


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