Job seekers often have questions about cover letters. They want to know if cover letters are necessary and if they help people get jobs. The answer is yes in both cases. Cover letters are necessary, and they can help you to get a job. Unless you are applying online using a resume builder, and the online application does not allow you to attach a cover letter, it is assumed that you will send a cover letter with every resume that you send out. Even if the ad simply says, Send resume, make sure that you send a cover letter as well.
Here are some tips to make sure that your cover letter is effective:
Keep the cover letter brief. Three to four paragraphs are sufficient to make your point.
Tailor each cover letter to the specific position that you are applying to. Form letters will not catch a recruiter/hiring manager´s eye. Be sure to highlight the qualifications that you possess that are mentioned in the ad that you are responding to. You want to emphasize to the reader that you are a good match for the job.
Try to find the name of the person who will be receiving the resume if at all possible. Recruiters/hiring managers will pay more attention if they are being addressed personally.
If you do not possess a qualification that is listed in the ad, don´t mention it in your cover letter. There is no need to draw attention to any deficits. Generally speaking, hiring managers put out a wish list of qualifications. Those who come closest to meeting all of the qualifications are usually the ones called in for the interview.
Let the reader know exactly which ad you are responding to. Oftentimes large employers have several ads running at one time. To make it easier for the reader, mention where you saw the ad, and if there is a reference number, be sure to include it in the cover letter.