Want to Stand Out From the Pack? Consider adding a Cover Letter to Your Resume.
Recruiters are inundated. They are receiving hundreds of applications to a single job post and, let's be honest, after awhile they all kind of blur together. Just think about how overwhelming it would be if you had to sort through and read hundreds of resumes and try to discern the great from the good and from the no-goods. This is scanning, and it's the first step in the selection process that many recruiters use to quickly 'yay' or 'nay' an application.
On average, a recruiter spends just 7 seconds looking at your application. 7 seconds! How do you make the best of that short glance? First, taking your resume up a notch so that it is easy for the recruiter to see how you fit in the role - but that's a whole other article. Second, though, is crafting the best cover letter you can that says hey, I'm not like the rest of the applicants, and here's why.
Cover letters have gained a bad rap over the years, mostly because many job seekers don't take time to actually write a good one. Often boring, not relevant, and including way too much detail that no one is really going to take the time to read (at least not at first glance). There's been lots of chatter as well as to whether or not a cover letter is even needed in 2020.
But done well, a cover letter is your way in the door. When you respond to a job posting, you are taking the first step to convincing the hiring manager that they need to interview you. You're the one. You're their next hire. You're better than the rest. So how do you convince them that they need to bring you in to interview, if you've only got 7 seconds to impress? Add a well crafted cover letter to your resume. And here's one of the best cover letter examples:
Dear (name - because you looked up who the hiring manager was),
As soon as I read this posting, I knew it was meant for me. My life is firefighting. My family are firefighters, right back to my great grandfather. I have cut my teeth in the oil fields of Alberta as an Industrial Firefighter for the past four years, and volunteered my time helping orient the new recruits and share my passion for the industry and for the job we were born to do. I am concluding my contract with Suncor as of April 1, and am actively looking for a career firefighter role.
My credentials and qualifications are solid, and exceed what you're looking for:
(bullet point all your great qualifications - exactly matching the job posting, and picking the top 7 or so. Keep it focused)
I am confident that I'm the right fit for a role with your department and would love a chance to prove it in an interview. I am all the things you're looking for, and I'm ready to give my all to the community of (city), and the people of the (department).
Cover letters like this are catchy for a few reasons: they are unique among the standard cover letters, they are pointed in how they compare to the actual posting, and they are short enough that the recruiter will actually read all of it. And they likely will take a longer look at your resume and if you're qualified, move you to the 'yay' pile, even if only because they want to meet the fabulous person who wrote that cover letter! I haven't met a recruiter yet who hasn't been impressed by a personalized cover letter with a resume that gives insight into the candidate's personality.
The best cover letters are also those that are error free, and aren't obvious re-used ones from other postings you've applied to. Take the time to craft a well thought out and clear cover letter that speaks to who you are and why you are the best candidate for the job. Show them through bullet points, and remember the KISS principle - Keep It Simple ....