Employers receive lots of applications for each position.
Busy employers or recruiters will scan your resume or curriculum vitae (CV), along with your cover letter. They’re designed to help quickly identify if you’re a potential candidate to be shortlisted for an interview.
They’re looking to see if your skills, qualifications, experience, and personality will match their requirements and fit in well with their business.
It’s not really enough to have one standard template that you send out to everyone either, that may not get you an interview.
Each time you send out your resume and craft a cover letter, you’ll need to tailor them to the job that’s being advertised. Just a few small tweaks could make all the difference. So even though it seems like a lot of effort to go to, it’s essential if you’d like to be successful with your applications.
Why you need a cover letter
Writing a brief cover letter when you’re applying or looking for work is a great idea (unless you’re specifically requested not to). If your resume or application is the main course, then your cover letter is the appetiser.
It allows potential employers to see a glimpse of you, and shows that you recognise the skills and attributes that they’re looking for in order to do the job, and confirms that you have them. A great cover letter could be your ticket into a prospective employers shortlist pile.
What to include in your cover letter
Your cover letter should include:
- an introduction about you
- a little bit about the job you’re interested in and why
- show that your skills and experience match the skills and experience needed to do the job
- encourage the employer to read your attached resume
- finish with a call to action (for example, asking for an interview or a meeting); and thank them for their time
Keep it brief and to the point. Add in any focus words that you spotted in the job advert too.
Here’s an example:
So what’s your resume for?
Your resume is a (slightly) more detailed record of your skills and experience. It’s also your chance to demonstrate your understanding about the job you’re applying for and the organisation.
A carefully crafted resume tailored to the position you’re applying for, with accurate reporting of your job skills, could determine how far you go down the hiring funnel. Your resume has to outshine the competition and show you have what it takes to justify an interview.
Here’s an example of what your resume could look like:
Check out the Super Simple Resume Builder to help you get started.
It’s worth the extra time
Studies show employers spend on average just 6 seconds reading each resume, so that’s how long you’ve got to impress them and make yourself stand out from all the other applicants too.
Customising your resume and cover letter for each job that you apply for shows you’ve put in effort, and could boost your chances of getting the job.
Looking for more tips? You’ll find them in the Getting a Job Guide.