Are Cover Letters Still Necessary?

Are cover letters still necessary?

With advancements in video interviews and social media job application processes, many clients ask about cover letters. Are cover letters still necessary?

At Power Writers, we always offer a bundled quote for clients which includes a cover letter. This is because as a guideline we lean in favor of cover letters still being necessary. However, there are many factors that affect this practice.

The first of which is ‘who’ the cover letter and resume will be reviewed by.  As an example, traditional hiring managers may lean heavily on the value of a cover letter. Whereas modern hiring practices are directed towards quick visual scanning of resume details for the purpose of quality filtration. 

What’s the Point?

Overall, the point of a cover letter is to build a bridge between you and the recruiter or hiring manager. Cover letters, when written properly show that you have something to say. They portray that you have something to add to the company and that you have extended forward thought into your placement within the company. 

When formalizing a plan for your cover letter, remember that a cover letter should address the following:

  • How you learned of the opportunity,
  • How your qualifications match the job requirements.
  • Your possible availability in the area.
  • How you can be contacted.

It’s common to wonder if writing the cover letter is even worth the effort since the carefully crafted letter won’t get read.

Recruiter and Cover Letters

A recruiter’s role is to focus on whether you have the skillset, education and years of experience required for the job. With recruiting firms acting as an extension of your potential new employer, cover letters are often only passed on to employers when requested.

Additionally, if employers are swamped with resumes, they may consider the cover letter unnecessary.  

That being said, it’s hard to know exactly. Yet strong arguments remain in favor of preparing a tightly written cover letter.

Major Career Change.

Our recommendation, if you are delving into a major career change then a well-written cover letter can be a powerful tool to aid the story the resume is portraying. This goes for those embarking on significant career growth as well.  

Big moves such as Senior Director to VP will be greatly complemented by an expertly written cover letter. As such, growth from Manager to Senior Manager will also be best highlighted by a cover letter written to align with the story told on the professional resume. 

Editing is Your Friend.

All this being said, if you do send a cover letter, be sure it is well written. A compelling cover letter is a powerful tool for securing a job interview.  In contrast, a poorly assembled cover letter can yield a completely opposite and much less desired result.

A well-written cover letter complements your resume and social media presence, pulling out the highlights most relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Grammar or Go Home.

Like all angles of writing, never underestimate the importance of correct grammar and spelling. Hiring managers are rightfully critical throughout this first impression. A cover letter with inadequate proofreading can, and will, harm your chances of being selected for an interview opportunity.

Industry Trends.

What’s interesting is that we have yet to notice any significant industry trends in relation to cover letter requirements. It appears the requests for cover letters still spans across all industries.

Customize by Experience.

While you want to be honest about your work experience, you don’t necessarily have to include everything you’ve ever done in your cover letter. Remember this is a compliment to your resume.

Your cover letter should sum up the places you’ve been and the skills you’ve learned. Particularly those skills directly related to the job you’re applying for.

So if you’re applying for a marketing position and you’ve worked as a sales associate, include that. However, you probably don’t need to discuss the two years in college you spent as a waitress in your cover letter unless it somehow applies to your future marketing career.

Need help with the process?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

Along with Cover Letters, we offer Resume updates, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

How To Properly Express Career Skills

properly expressing career skills

Sure, we get it.  Talking about yourself can be tricky.  You want to sound proud but at the same time not sound like you’re bragging.  You want to sound highly skilled but not come across as a know it all. Without a doubt, one of the top 3 client frustrations we hear is how to properly express career skills. 

If you’re new to the workforce than a shortage of well-rounded skills can be a limitation. For those with extensive years of work history, the challenge becomes that of streamlining an entire career into a cohesive, easy to read, list of skills. 

The goal is to get that interview.  Here are a few tips we use to keep the message tidy and descriptive.

Skills to Put on a Resume

Stating that you worked as a brand manager at Company XYZ is no longer enough to secure a job interview.  Even if you’re applying for the same position at another company.  The job market is heavily saturated so recruiters and hiring managers are seeking a combination of skills and specific traits associated with job titles. 

So, let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what skills should be listed on your resume.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the basic skills to show off.

1. Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are specific universal abilities. The most sought-after skills recruiters want to see include:

  1. Teamwork
  2. Leadership
  3. General Organization, Motivation, and Time Management Skills
  4. Communication Skills
  5. Creativity
  6. Analytical or Critical Thinking and Numeracy Skills

These are skills we can all relate too however not everyone can deliver efficiently.

Take public speaking for example. Not everyone can handle the stress of standing in front of an audience, especially that of skeptical clients or stakeholders. That’s why you should provide examples of what it looks like when you use that skill.

Put the skill in the context of actual achievement to show hiring managers the impact you have when you’re in action.

2. Job Specific Skills and ATS Keywords

To sieve through large numbers of resumes, companies are turning to applicant tracking systems. This software crawls through applications in search of specific words and phrases, including skill keywords.

Here’s the problem — the algorithms behind the software understand only as much as you tell them. You can’t depend on them to infer your skillset from the jobs you’ve held.

So, how can you improve your chances of having your skills recognized by a resume reading robot? Check out our previous article on how to optimize your resume for ATS for a few tips.

Sharing your unique set of skills requires more than just listing your skills one-by-one in the skills section. To stand out from the crowd, be specific.

If you lead a team of sales representatives, don’t just add “leadership” to the list, share more details like the example below:

Leadership Skills

  1. Lead a team of 4 sales representatives who generated 25% of total sales revenue and outperformed 7 remaining teams.
  2. Motivated team to increase their productivity by 17%.

Being explicit about your abilities isn’t limited to general skills like communication skills, teamwork, or leadership. Do the same for technical skills as well.

A skills section should be the mainstay of any resume.

Ideally, a recruiter or hiring manager should glance at your skills section and see the requirements they’re seeking as well as your unique capabilities.

Need help?  Our team at PWU offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization and Recruiter Services. Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Cover Letters – Do I Need One?

interview questions

You may be wondering if you need a cover letter to compliment your resume when applying for jobs. Are you asking yourself “What difference will it make or can it make?” Let’s discuss when you should send a cover letter and why.

Essentially we should be sending a cover letter along with our resumes to hiring managers unless they specifically say otherwise. Here are the two main reasons:

  1. You can speak directly to your specific qualifications and why these make you the best candidate for the job. Your cover letter allows you to tell employers “who you are” and align your experience and career with their business needs.
  2. The cover letter is used to send a targeted message specific to each job/career for which you are applying.

It is possible to find numerous examples of how to write a cover letter and what the best formatting options are. However, when you work with our professional resume writers you will get the benefit of experience, past client feedback, and current formatting to optimize the ROI. In addition, it can be a struggle to capture who you are on paper. This is why it helps to have a professional writer head the effort.

The window of opportunity to make a strong first impression can be a narrow one. This is especially true when the job market is flooded. The higher the volume of job seekers the more challenging it is to grab the attention of hiring managers. Once you have their attention your cover letter needs to be strong enough to hold it.

Knowing what to put in your cover letter is important, however, knowing what not to add is just as important. In a blog written by Joe Matar titled, 6 Things Your Cover Letter Should Never Say (But Probably Does)

The author talks about the need for your cover letter to be concise. The cover letter is your opportunity to fashion a direct message to the company. Joe Matar explains that saying “a skills and experience section” will not have as much impact compared to telling the story of your career and the value you bring. The same goes for this statement: “I want to work in this industry”. It does not show the employer your passion for their particular company. You want the hiring manager to know you are ready to invest yourself into the very specific needs of their business. Read more of what Joe Matar has to say on this here.

It is also important that you choose the appropriate letter type as well. For example your letter will read differently if you are applying for a specific job posting or you are simply inquiring about job opportunities within that particular company. Hiring managers should not be left guessing about your goals via the cover letter.

Before you start applying for jobs, be sure to invest time in creating a professional cover letter. Make the cover letter concise and direct. This document is an invaluable tool in ushering you through to the interview process in your job search. Use this opportunity to show future employers who you are, and why they need you on their team.


Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

Is a Professional Resume Worth It?  Economics of a Job Search

Job Search Economics

Is a Professional Resume Worth It?  Economics of a Job Search

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation involving the time and resources it takes to search for a job and whether the cost of a professional resume is worth the investment.

There are many factors that can influence the time it takes to find a job.  These factors include the industry you are in, the demand for the position you are applying for, your qualifications and experience, your resume, and your interviewing skills, to name a few.

But let’s assume for the sake of this blog that at a minimum it will take you 6 weeks from day one until you are offered a position.  A month and a half to find a job.  For a lot of people that is a long time to go without pulling in a paycheck.  If you are strapped for cash this could be detrimental to you and your family.  So, if you find yourself in this type of position is it worth coughing up the money to hire a professional resume writer or interview coach?  Let’s look at some numbers.

Salary: $90,000 annually

Weekly income ($90,000/52 weeks) $1,730

10 weeks without income = $17,300

Wow!  Not working for 10 weeks at a salary of $90,000 is $17,000 in lost income!  This doesn’t even include the loss of benefits, 401K contributions, vacation time, etc.  This is a big impact!

So, what can you do to minimize this loss?  Resume writing service fees are all over the board, and generally speaking, you get what you pay for.  Let’s assume for the sake of this blog you hire a certified professional resume writer to complete your resume, cover letter, and update your LinkedIn profile for a fee of $500.

For $500 you are now armed with professionally created personal marketing tools that are optimized to get you through ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and garner the appeal of recruiters on LinkedIn, etc. that are now fighting to get you a job.  You have a professional presence and will now have a greater chance of getting callbacks and interviews.  Let’s say you nail a job interview and land a job.  By working with a professional, you’ve shortened your job search time by 2 weeks.  Let’s do some more math.

Weekly income ($90,000/52 weeks) $1,730

8 weeks without income = $13,840

Cost of resume service = $500

Total income loss and out of pocket cost for resume services = $14,340

Amount you now earn by being hired in 8 weeks compared to 10 = $2,960

As we’ve demonstrated in this example if you invest $500 to hire a professional resume writer, which results in being hired 2 weeks sooner than average, you earn $2,960 compared to losing out on the opportunity.  This is beyond a 500% return on your investment!  We like to think you are worth investing in.   And based on this example it is worth the investment to work with a certified professional resume writer whose mission is to get you results.

____________________

Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

How to Email a Resume and Cover Letter Attachment

Emailing your resume and cover letter
You have a fresh, well-written cover letter, your resume has never looked better and now it’s time to start sending them out so you can get a callback for an interview!  But how should you email the aforementioned documents?  This is a great how-to guide for those that may need a little help in that department.  
Original article click here.

How to Email Cover Letter and Resume Attachments

Depending on the job for which you’re applying, you may need to email your resume and cover letter to the hiring manager. Networking contacts who are helping you job search may also ask you to email your application materials so they can review them and share your resume with prospective employers.

When you apply for jobs via email, the employer may require you to send your resume and cover letter as an attachment to an email message. It’s important to send your attachments correctly, to include all the information you need so your email message is read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview. Here’s how.

How to Save a Cover Letter and Resume

When you are sending cover letter and resume attachments, the first step is to save your resume as a PDF or a Word document. This way the receiver will get a copy of the resume in the original format. You can either save your cover letter in document format or write it directly in the email message.

If you have word processing software other than Microsoft Word save your resume as a Word (.doc or .docx) document. File, Save As, should be an option in your program.

Depending on your word processing software, you may be able to File, Print to PDF, to save your documents as a PDF. If not, there are free programs you can useto convert a file to a PDF.

A PDF file retains the format of your resume and letter, so the recipient will see them as you wrote them when they open the file(s) you send.

Use your name as the file name, so the employer knows whose resume and cover letter it is i.e. janedoeresume.doc and janedoecoverletter.doc.

How to Include a Subject Line in an Email Message

The subject line is one of the most important parts of the email messages you send to apply for jobs. If you don’t include one, your message may not even get opened.

Your email message must include a subject line, and it should explain to the reader who you are and what job you are applying for. Be specific, so the recipient knows what he or she is receiving. Employers often hire for many positions at the same time, so include both your name and the job title.

Add a subject to the email message before you start writing it. That way, you won’t forget to include it afterwards.

Here’s what to write:

Subject: Your Name – Job Title

How to Write an Email Message to Send With Your Cover Letter and Resume

Once you have saved your resume and cover letter and they are ready to send, the next step is to write an email message to send with your documents.

First, open your email account. Then click on Message at the top left of the screen or click on File, New, Message.

You can either type your cover letter directly into the email message, copy and paste from a word processing document, or, if the company requests an attachment, send your cover letter and resume with the email message. So, your choices are to send a cover letter attachment or to use the email message as your cover letter.

If you are attaching a cover letter, your email message can be brief. Simply state that your resume and cover letter are attached. Offer to provide additional information and let the reader know how you can be contacted.

If you’re writing an email cover letter, review these formatting tips before you send it.

Also, be sure to follow the directions in the job posting for how to apply when sending your cover letter and resume or your application may not be considered.

 

Add a Signature to an Email Message

It is important to include an email signature with all your contact information, so it’s easy for hiring managers and recruiters to get in touch with you. Include your full name, your email address, and your phone number in your email signature, so the hiring manager can see, at a glance, how to contact you.

If you have a LinkedIn profile, include it in your signature. Do the same with any other social media accounts you use for career and business purposes.

To add your signature to your email message, click on File, Insert, Signature if you have a signature saved that you use for job searching. If you haven’t created an email signature, type your contact information (name, email address, phone, LinkedIn) at the bottom of your message.

 

How to Attach a Resume and Cover Letter to an Email Message

Once your email message is ready to send, you need to attach your resume and cover letter to your message. Click on Insert, Attach File. Your email client will display a list of files in the default file folder of your computer.

If your resume and cover letter are stored in a different folder, click on the appropriate folder.

Click to select the file you want to add to your email message, and then click on Insert to attach the document to your email message. Take the time to carefully proofread the message before you send it.

Before you click Send, send the message to yourself to be sure all the attachments come through and your email message is perfect.

Send a copy of the message to yourself, as well as to the company, so you have a copy for your records. Add yourself as a Bcc (blind carbon copy) by clicking Bcc… and adding your email address.

Then click Send, and your cover letter and your resume will be on its way to the employer.

We hope you find this article helpful and we would always like to hear your comments and questions.  Power Writers USA is here to help you with all your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and more.  Please feel to contact us.

Should you always send a cover letter?

Resume

When it comes to preparing and applying for new jobs everyone has different needs.  You may have a warm introduction for a potential new employment opportunity where a resume is merely a formality or you may be sending resumes to companies you’ve had no prior contact with.  This article from Monster.com will help you to decide whether or not it’s appropriate to send a cover letter along with your resume.

Original article click here.

Do you always have to submit a cover letter, or can you skip it? We checked in with a panel of career experts to find out.

You found an exciting new job posting and are getting ready to submit your resume, but what about a cover letter? Is it always necessary to spend time writing a cover letter, or are there times you can get away without one? We checked in with a panel of career experts to find out.

Pro: A Cover Letter Can Set You Apart

“Skip the cover letter, and you miss out on an opportunity to sell yourself,” says Evelyn Salvador, author of Step-by-Step Cover Letters: Build a Cover Letter in 10 Easy Steps Using Personal Branding and principal of Creative Image Builders, a resume-development and career-coaching firm in Coram, New York.

Sending a cover letter along with a resume helps job seekers build their brand, the same way an advertising company promotes a product’s brand. “A well-defined brand wins interviews, maximizes salary potential and puts job seekers in the top 2 percent of candidates considered for positions,” Salvador says.

Think of your cover letter as another tool in your job search arsenal, says Betty Corrado, owner of career-coaching and resume-writing firm Career Authenticity in Cos Cob, Connecticut. “The cover letter is a key part of your marketing package,” she says. “Use it as an opportunity to convey your brand and value proposition.”

Pro: Cover Letters Let You Reveal Your Personality and Build Rapport

A resume tends to be fact-based and somewhat formal, but a cover letter can be infused with personality. “Don’t be afraid to inject personal notes about interests or philosophies that may help employers determine if you will fit into their culture,” says Roleta Fowler Vasquez, professional resume writer and owner of Wordbusters in Fillmore, California. To increase the “wow” factor of their cover letters, she encourages applicants to add a few standout accomplishments that don’t appear on the resume.

Laila Atallah, a Seattle career counselor and owner of Career Counseling with a Twist, agrees that a cover letter can be more revealing than a resume. “The best cover letters are infused with energy, personality and details about the applicant’s skills and achievements,” she says. “I get a sense of the person and what they’ve accomplished, and it’s easier for me to picture them in their next job.”

Job seekers often make the mistake of sending a resume without a cover letter, says Ann Baehr, president of Best Resumes of New York in East Islip, New York. “This is a missed opportunity to establish rapport with employers and provide a sense of who they are beyond their work experience,” she says.

Thinking about skipping the cover letter when applying for an internal position? Don’t. Use the cover letter to show how well you understand your employer’s mission and remind management of how much you have already accomplished. Include a cover letter even if a colleague is submitting your resume for you. The letter is a chance to introduce yourself and mention your contact as a reminder that you are a referral. This is what a cover letter should include, should you decide to send one.

Pro: A Cover Letter Lets You Tell a Story

The cover letter can include information that would be out of place on the resume. “Job seekers can include the name of a mutual contact or referral, state how they would benefit the employer if hired and explain tricky situations such as changing careers, relocating, returning to the workforce and so on,” Baehr says.

Atallah encourages job seekers to learn about the requirements of the job opening and use the cover letter to express how and why they are uniquely qualified. “Use your cover letter to tell a story,” she says. “Studies show that stories are memorable and engaging, and cover letters are a perfect vehicle for expressing your successes in a more storylike format.”

When Not to Send a Cover Letter

Given all the reasons to send a cover letter, is it ever a good idea not to? “If the application instructions expressly say not to include a cover letter, or if an online application offers no opportunity, then you can forego the cover letter in these cases,” Atallah says.

Vasquez agrees that you should not send a cover letter when the employer specifically says not to. “This may be a test of your ability to follow directions,” she says.

What if you think the cover letter won’t be read? Corrado says that while some hiring managers say they don’t read cover letters, those who do may dismiss your application if you don’t send one. “Why take this chance when you need every possible advantage in this job market?” she asks.

While writing cover letters is time-consuming, the consensus is that the effort could give you an edge and help you land more interviews.

Article written by: Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

____________________________________________

Everybody has different needs when it comes to their resumes, cover letters, CV’s etc.  Power Writers USA is here to help answer any questions you may have about your resume or having your resume crafted by a Certified Professional Resume Writer.