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Creating a great resume isn't easy and neither is writing a perfect letter that goes along with it perfectly. The truth about cover letters is that one does not fit all. While you may create one general resume and send it to ten or more positions, the same does not go for your cover letter. The resume-cover letter combination has to be just right - tailored to the job and with corresponding facts.
Does all of this sound complicated? Don't worry. We're here to help.
in this guide we'll teach you:
- How to make your resume and cover letter correspond perfectly
- What information from your resume to include in the cover letter
Before we jump into the details, make sure your resume is on point. Head over to our resume builder to create an amazing resume in minutes.
First of all, why is it important that your resume and cover letter correspond? This is because you want to have an application that is solid throughout. That means having facts and dates about your experience on the resume and an explanation of how you're planning on using this experience in the new position (which goes on the cover letter).
Make sure that:
- all relevant experience listed on the resume is referenced in the cover letter but be careful not to repeat your resume literally.
If the resume says: "5 years of experience in sales,"
the cover letter should say: "I plan on using my 5 years of experience in sales to improve your client retention and increase customer base by 10% in the next 6 months."
Here the resume presents factual information about the candidate and the cover letter explains how the candidate plans on making it practical.
- mention all relevant accomplishments and tell the stories behind the facts
While your resume is the place to list what you've achieved in your previous job and what accolades you've earned, the cover letter is the place to explain how you managed to do that and why it was significant.
This will show the hiring manager what you've learned and how you can contribute to their company.
Resume: "won Sales Manager of the year 5 times in a row"
Cover letter: "I realized that the best way to make my team more productive was to find every single member's strength and help them develop it. This is how I won the Sales Manager of the year award for 5 years in a row."
Do this only for the relevant accomplishments to the job you're applying for. If you've won other impressive prizes but in a whole different industry, you can leave that off.
- outline all transferable skills
This point is especially important if you're changing industries. Let's say that you've worked in the hospitality industry for years and want to transfer to banking. Say your goal is to get a teller position. It has all to do with customer service but since you haven't worked in finance before, it may not seem that obvious how you're qualified.
Make sure that your resume outlines the particular skills you're transferring to the new industry and use the cover letter to give a brief explanation.
Resume: "worked as a Hotel Concierge for 5 years"
Cover letter: "thanks to my experience as a Concierge, I learned how to interact with customers with a high degree of empathy and understanding and quickly resolve problems.
This way the hiring manager will be able to see the connection and really consider you for the position instead of seeing a complete industry switch and discarding your resume.
It's important to remember that the cover letter should be no longer than one page. This is why you have to include only the most important and relevant facts.
Here is a checklist of what should be on your cover letter:
- Your name
- Address (city, state, zip code)
- Phone number (cell phone is best. Never, ever give your work phone)
- Email (always list a professional email - email@example.com VS firstname.lastname@example.org)
- A proper address (Dear Hiring Manager)
- Reasons why you want the job
- What you'll contribute to the company
- Closing statement
- Signature (Sincerely)
This is the basic scheme of a cover letter. Now let's look at a sample you can use.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am excited to apply for [position] at [Company], as advertised in [place where you saw the ad OR as referred to by - person who referred you].
I believe that the skills and experiences I have gained as [Current Position] at [Company] make me an ideal candidate for the [position you're applying to].
Over the course of my career, I have developed [relevant skills the ad mentions]. For example, one of my main tasks is to [relevant action the job requires].
This duty requires [actions]. I have proven to be very effective by [winning award/ accomplishment associated with this action].
I have also gained extensive experience in [tasks] – that you state the [position] must be familiar with. My experience at [Company] has given me the opportunity to master [another relevant skill] which would undoubtedly contribute to the role.
I am confident that my experience in the [field] and my [relevant skills] qualify me for consideration. My plan for the position is [brief mention of your vision].
I look forward to meeting with you and discussing the opportunity to join the team.
Fill in this sample cover letter with details from your resume and relevant information from the job ad and send in your application confidently.
Having a solid resume is key to landing the job you want. Once you've finished that step, it's time to write a killer cover letter.
Study the job ad carefully and identify which skills and experiences on your resume are relevant to the role. Then fill in the sample cover letter and make sure it corresponds with your resume.