10 December 2021

If Your Resume is the Cake, Your Cover Letter is the Icing

Cover letter writing is almost as critical as resume writing for a job seeker to master. At all times, the cover letter serves as the primary supporting piece for the resume. Whether you send the resume via regular mail, email, fax, or another sort of electronic submission, this should always be included. There are, of course, additional tools you’ll employ during the job search process. Naturally, your cover letter and resume come first, followed by follow-up letters, post-interview thank-you letters, reference sheets, salary history, and job acceptance letters. If you have a strong cover letter and resume writing skills, the other written tools should come easily.

Your objective here, like with resume writing, is to capture the recruiting manager’s attention. However, the method and format are slightly different. Your resume should cover the entirety, or the majority, of your professional career and should be between one and two pages long. Your cover letter will be a single page in length and will serve as an introduction to your CV. Cover letter writing style should be direct, succinct, and capable of swiftly capturing the reader’s attention in order to entice the reader to read the attached resume.

When it comes to this style of writing, many people have an uncontrollable urge to say too much. A good cover letter is succinct and to the point, emphasizing two or three essential items from the résumé. The proverb “tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them what you told them” is applicable to both resume and cover letter writing.

As an example, suppose you are a materials handling manager seeking new employment with a defence contractor. MRP, lean manufacturing, ISO 9000, and cost savings are buzzwords in your field. Your writing efforts should incorporate these buzz terms to demonstrate your value to your existing and prospective employers. Your CV will elaborate on how you achieved these objectives. The cover letter will simply state that you accomplished them. A good illustration of this would be two bulleted paragraphs in the letter’s body that state…

• Knowledge of quality assurance and quality control, material requirements planning, ISO 9000, QS 9000, and lean manufacturing.

• Proven track record of saving businesses significant money through cost savings, inventory reduction, and on-time supplier delivery.

According to numerous research, the hiring manager spends approximately fifteen seconds reviewing each résumé and cover letter. With that in mind, your writing abilities must be exceptional in order to entice this individual to examine your resume. Your resume writing abilities must be as impressive in order to entice the reader to grant you an interview. As a result, your interviewing abilities must be outstanding in order to convince the hiring manager to award you the position. This lengthy, and ideally beneficial chain of events begins with effective cover letter writing and concludes with work contentment and a healthy wage.

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