Many well-qualified job hunters with top-notch resumes cringe when it comes to writing a cover letter. Maybe it feels pointless, or perhaps you feel like you don’t know how to write one. Whatever your reasons for hating the cover letter, it’s still an important part of your application package. Here are a few situations in which a cover letter is essential.
You’re Changing Careers
Whether you are applying for your first professional job or hoping to switch industries, your cover letter is your chance to make a pitch for why you’re perfect for the role. Your resume focuses on your paid work experiences, while your cover letter fills in the gaps. Craft a compelling story that explains what you’ve learned in the past and how it applies to the position you want.
You Know Someone
Referrals can be a powerful advantage, but there’s no spot for referrals on a resume. Whether you know the vice president of finance at the company or you went to high school with the HR manager’s best friend, your cover letter is your opportunity to name-drop. Just make sure that you clear it with your connection first. Never claim that someone referred you unless you actually were.
You’re Not Local
Unless you’re applying for a fully remote position, an application package from a distant ZIP code can raise eyebrows. Use your cover letter to explain your circumstances, including why you’re moving and when you can reasonably expect to start work.
You Have an Employment Gap
Employment gaps are concerning to most employers, but many gaps are easily explained. Rather than hoping you get the opportunity to explain it in an interview, proactively address your employment gap in your cover letter. Keep the explanation brief, and be sure to note that the issue has now been resolved.
You’re on the Bubble
This is the biggest reason everyone should write a cover letter for each position, even if you don’t fit into one of the above categories. Suppose your resume is reasonably strong but doesn’t put you in the top tier of candidates for a particular position. In that case, the hiring manager may turn to your cover letter for more information. A well-written and tightly edited cover letter could be enough to land you an interview.
Ready for a new position?
If you’re in the market for a new job, contact Total Staffing Solutions. With over 20 years of experience, we know how to match you with your next position.