The Eagle Blog

The Purpose of a Cover Letter

I just read an interesting, fairly short, article about the purpose of a cover letter on TechReplublic.

It got me to thinking about the parallel between (a) a cover letter from candidate, and (b) the submission information from a recruiter … they are very similar.

Toni Bowers in her TechRepublic article does emphasise the need for a cover letter, despite some naysayers, she suggests that it should “put your experience into a perspective for the job being filled”.

I whole heartedly agree … but I think I might even emphasise the importance of the cover letter more than Toni.

To me, like the submission email, a cover letter is a “selling document“.  (a) It tells the reader exactly why you are the right person for the job; and (b) It makes it EASY for the reader to understand why!  Like ANY good selling document it takes all of the relevant information and presents it in a format that is designed to suit the reader.

What do I mean by that?  If you are an experienced consultant in the IT space it is likely your resume is quite long, listing many different projects and roles over a number of years.  To read through that chronologically will take a while … AND it is easy to miss some of the nuances.  The cover letter (submission email) takes exactly what the reader is looking for and matches it to the resume … presenting itself in a way that is compelling!  The resume then just becomes a supporting document!

A former sales manager of mine once told me that  you MUST make it easy for the buyer to buy!   Do as much of their work for them as possible … and you have done your job!  THAT is what a cover letter should do! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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3 thoughts on “The Purpose of a Cover Letter

  1. Kevin, are a lot of companies using software to screen resumes?

    That perception is one reason why many people feel that covering letters are obsolete.

    As a freelance consultant, I don’t bother with a covering letter, but I do have a section on the first page of my resume that summarizes my objectives and qualifications.

  2. Don … interesting point. Our software will handle a cover letter when it parses the information into our system. Your approach of a resume with an overview qualifications/objectives is a good approach with staffing companies.

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