Have you ever zipped quickly through a stack of books, ditching the ones that didn’t seem appealing? Or perused the bookshelf looking specifically for words or titles that jumped out to you? Judging a book by its cover. It’s the token “no-no” that we are all taught while growing up, yet how many times daily do we do just that? Whether it’s a literal book or just the surface glance toward whatever we are thinking about, we are all guilty of falling for first impressions. An employer seeking out a new employee is no different. Stacks of paper cluttering his or her desk, little time to get the necessary work done, and a ton of applicants waiting to be considered. Whether you want to admit it or not, you, as the job seeker, will be quickly judged and must stand out in the appeal and verbage of your cover letter. This is your first, and possibly only, shot at drawing your future employer’s attention and proving yourself to be the best choice for the job.
Many who are taking steps to pursue their desired job understand the importance of the resume but treat the cover letter as an afterthought, that which is outdated and a waste of time. This is far from true. Although the resume is vital to landing an interview, the cover letter often makes its debut even before the resume is seen. If you paint a picture of yourself that is nothing special, then you will be considered as such. However, if you go the extra mile to paint a detailed portrait of yourself and the assets and strengths you bring to the table, then you have just set yourself apart and peaked the interest and curiosity of the employer. That doesn’t seem like such a waste of time after all, does it?
In today’s society of busy schedules, overbooked calendars, and the “don’t call us we’ll call you” mentality, you have to work hard and be intentional in representing yourself well from the beginning and setting yourself up for success. The introductory documentation, the cover letter, can help your resume leap to the top of the pile. It allows you to target the job and the employer in a very specific way, to sell “your fit” with their specific company. Done right, it will greatly advance your opportunity to sit down for an interview at your dream job. Done wrong or omitted all together, it will greatly affect your book being judged by what’s on the inside…your resume, the core of your representation as a job applicant. Know you will be judged and rise above the rest! Don’t forget your cover letter!