A resume attachment – once called a cover letter in the days before email – is critical in your efforts to land your next job. A well-done cover letter can spark human resources, a recruiter, or the hiring manger to take the next step in actually reading your resume and considering you for the job. You should place as much emphasis on writing a strong resume attachment as you do on the resume itself. It is how you are representing yourself to others in your industry.
The Resume Attachment is the Key to Your Next Job
Write a strong opening paragraph. Like any other type of writing, you need to grab the reader’s attention. In this case, you are writing about yourself and the interest you have in a job for which many others are probably applying. Your opening paragraph can begin something like,” Please consider me for the systems analyst opportunity you have at XYZ Corporation. I have been an IT professional, working the entire systems life cycle for nearly 10 years, and have a wealth of experience I know you will find valuable.” Also include some knowledge you have about the company to show you have done your homework.
Enumerate highlights of your career and skills set. In your next paragraph, detail in bullet point, numbered or semi-colon style some of your strengths. An example of this is, “I have the following experience: 1) business and systems analysis, technical writing, process analysis, business process engineering and systems design and 2) experience with SAP, Data Warehousing and in-house developed business systems.” Also try to relate your job experience to the job description, to show what an excellent match you are to the position.
Include financial savings or productivity gains for which you have been responsible at other jobs. If you can write one or two paragraphs specifying how you saved money for a company, that will speak volumes about your ability in addition to your skills. An example: “On one project, the budget was reduced by 50 percent after I completed it, and I reduced the amount of work required by nearly 50 percent. “ You do not have to provide dramatic examples, just those that display how you are a better candidate than the resume below yours in the stack, and what additional value you have to add the company if they hire you.
End your letter with a strong closing and suggest a meeting. Given that you have the skills the company seeks, a strong close can lead to an interview. An example: “I look forward to hearing from you shortly so that we can arrange an interview. My current resume is attached.” You may also want to include work samples as an additional email attachment if that makes sense. With luck and and a strong cover letter, you will be called in for an interview.