As you know I handle a lot of executive searches and recruitment projects as part of the services provided by Randi Frank Consulting, LLC. People always ask if they should write a cover letter with their resume when applying for a new position/job. If the advertisement says please provide a cover letter and resume then always provide a cover letter. If it is not mentioned then you have a choice.
- If you have a very standard resume and it is not tailored for the specific position for which you are applying then you want to use the cover letter to address specific issues related to the job. For example, you want to mention the title of the position for which you are applying and cover a number of points related to the qualifications such as experience and education. You may also need to show in your letter why you feel your qualified for the position based on the skills you have acquired in past positions even if it is not the same title of the job for which you are applying. If you are applying for a Managers position and none of your job titles include the manager title then your letter can highlight your project management experience in which you coordinated with about 3 departments or 10 employees. If you were a manager in a volunteer position then you can also address that in the cover letter. The objective of the cover letter is show your enthusiasm and to indicated why you think you are qualified for this specific position.
- If your resume is specifically tailored for the position in which you are applying and you have all the same titles in past positions and have listed all the skills, experience and education for the job – then maybe a cover letter is not needed. However, you may want to do a short cover letter to let the recruiters know why you are interested in the position such as moving to the area, ready for a new and larger challenge or even not wanting to move with your current firm to another state.
- If your have any gaps of time in your resume when you were not working then a cover letter is needed to explain so they do not eliminate you automatically.
For your information – I do not read cover letters until I check out the resume first to make sure a candidate is qualified. If they are qualified or partially qualified then I read the cover letter to gather more information about the candidates. Please see my blog about “Tips on Preparing Resumes” to make sure the recruiter will take a second look at your resume.