How to Write a Cover Letter for a Resume

When you write a cover letter for a resume, you’re attempting to make your resume stand out from the other hundred candidates for the job that also submitted an application. Knowing how to write a cover letter for a resume is knowing how to write a call for action on the part of the hiring personnel in that company.

Whenever a job is open and a business gets a bunch of application submissions, only a fraction of those resumes are going to be fully looked over by those doing the hiring. You want yours to be the resume that’s put on the short list, not the big dump pile.

Use a Cover Letter Template

Find a cover letter templates and have your resume in the form the company wants submitted, or the standard cover letter form. It’s going to be points off, if you try to get attention with a radical cover letter aesthetic. You want the company officials to be impressed by your cover letter, so make it look professional.

This means adding a subject line, along with your address and the address of the reader.

Cover Letter Paragraph #1

The first paragraph should be a couple of sentences, which introduces you to the reader and lets them know you meet all the qualifications posted on the call for resumes. If you don’t qualify, there’s no reason they should bother.

Cover Letter Paragraph #2

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Resume

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Resume

The second paragraph should be about three to four sentences long and should list why you’re the best person for the job. Show passion and energy while discussing your education, training and accomplishments. Know what these people want at this position and post credentials that apply.

Don’t add a bunch of qualifications that really don’t apply to the position you’re applying for. Winning the National Tekken Championship back in ’98 doesn’t really impress anyone, unless you happen to be applying for a position as a video game tester. Leading the team to a state title doesn’t apply to being a systems analyst.

In other words, state concisely your education, training and other credentials, and state them in a way that shows you have a passion for your field of work. If you were in a related field, but not this one, explain in an additional sentence how your skill set is transferable to the job at hand.

Additional Information on the Cover Letter

If you feel the qualifications for the job criteria is too much to add in a four-sentence paragraph, then attach a chart on a page 2 with a numbered list of their criteria in one column and a description of how you qualify in column two, then mention in Paragraph 2 of the 1st page that you have made a chart explaining your specific qualifications for the job.

This chart may or may not be looked at and, if it is, may only be glanced at. Make certain the chart makes perfect sense, nevertheless. If they posted criteria, tailor your resume specifically to that criteria, showing that you know exactly what the job is about and that you’re willing to take extra effort.

Cover Letter Final Paragraph

The final paragraph on your cover letter should be a call to action. Let them know you want to discuss the job further with them, and that you would like to know within a specific time-frame (week or so) whether your application is in the system.

Also, make certain your contact information is easy to find and access. Provide your phone number and email address.

The Callback

After a few days, make a call to see if your resume was received and is in the system. If you find out it is, get off the phone within a minute or two and stop pestering them. This is like getting a date: you want to get the appointment, then disengage, before you screw up.

Getting on the short list of potential employees who get the call back and interview is what’s important here. Short of that, find out within a few days if you’re being considered, and move on if you’re not.

Cover Letter Template

Once you have a cover letter, keep a copy on your computer, so you don’t have to relearn how to write a cover letter for a resume. If the resume doesn’t seem to be working, look over it and make necessary improvements.

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