Jeff Smith & Associates, Inc.
The Cover Letter
As mentioned in my discussion about Job Objective, I recommend using a Cover Letter or accompanying E-mail to Highlight your specific relevant experience for the position for which you are applying.
I also Strongly Suggest that, whenever sending a resume to a prospective employer, ALWAYS include a cover letter or email message that speaks directly to the recipient. This should be brief but powerful, describing specific experience and accomplishments from past or current positions that relate directly to the requirements in the position for which you are applying. Such a letter is designed to “Help” the reader identify the skills, attributes, and experiences that are detailed in your resume and relate directly to the requirements listed in the advertised job description.
It demonstrates sincere interest in the position, shows that you have given your application serious thought, and are not just one of the many who send in only a resume, hoping to get a “hit”. From an employer’s perspective, if someone is not interested enough to make an effort to “personalize” their application, I’m not sure I should spend much of my time giving the resume any more than a cursory look.
Also, be Very Careful using a pre-written intro letter. It is usually very easy for a recruiter to identify the “one size fits all” introduction. Especially when fonts change when adding “pertinent” data, and the letter begins with “Dear FIRST NAME:”. You may chuckle, but receiving a cover letter or email which is obviously generic and not focused on the specific opportunity for which the candidate is applying can be worse than no letter at all. It is better, in my opinion to draft a brief note (3 or 4 sentences even) that addresses the person to whom the letter and resume are being sent (and if no name is listed, simply address it To Whom It May Concern) and identifies the position in question. At least it shows that you’re not just using a shotgun approach, sending out hundreds of resumes to anything close, hoping that you get a lucky hit. But rather, the opportunity is important enough that you are willing to put forth the (even little) extra effort of making your application targeted and specific.
Again, this is one man’s opinion. If this is helpful, I’ve accomplished my goal. If you find it in any way confusing or contradictory, please let me know. Your feedback is appreciated. Feel free to email me with your comments at: Jeff@jsmithassoc.com.