The Cover Letter Should Be The Frosting To Your Resume's Cake
A common mistake that people make with cover letters is to restate what they have already put down on a resume. What a waste of everyone’s time. A resume should be the cake while your cover letter should be the frosting. The cover letter should be interesting and tell the story of you. The resume, if properly written, will tell the hiring team what you have accomplished. The cover letter should excite the hiring team by describing who you are and how you will solve the team’s particular pain points. Write in your own voice, not the stilted language often used for cover letters (“I am writing in response to your advertisement for a ______”). Show your personality but most importantly, make the hiring team intrigued to meet you.
I tell people that if you are not qualified for a position, a cover letter, even one well crafted, won’t help. A cover letter can help if there are several qualified candidates and a decision has to be made as to which one to bring in for an interview. Often the candidate that has sold his/her skills best via a cover letter will be the one to get an interview.