There’s no doubt that a resume is unanimously voted to be the most important and talked-about document when candidates apply for jobs. However, there are other application materials you need to worry about. To list some of the common ones you might have to attach include:
- Cover Letters
- Unofficial or official transcript
- Letters of Recommendation
Cover letters are almost just as common as simply needing to attach a resume, though, so let’s discuss them. Cover letters serve three main roles. They (1) give a candidate more space and room to introduce themselves, (2) act as a more personalized document, and (3) convey a candidate’s achievements and goals in a way that is relevant to the specific company and position. Your cover letter should not just rephrase or expand on your resume. Keep it fresh and exciting by adding more information about who you are and specifically your passions as they relate to the particular role. There are two ways to approach writing a cover letter.
Approach #1: Crafting a new cover letter each time.
The first approach is to sit down, focus, and point-blank write a new cover letter each time. You will need to specifically plan out what to touch upon and how to best stand out to that particular company.
This is the best way to get a quality cover letter that you know has been crafted perfectly to the specifications of a particular job. The one constraint? Time. Writing a new cover letter from scratch takes time! It also takes additional time to review the letter and make sure it has no errors or grammatical mistakes.
Because you should be applying to as many interesting positions as possible, investing so much time into countless custom cover letters might not be the best idea or use of your resources. A pro tip is to only craft cover letters from scratch for your top options or dream companies!
Approach #2: Writing a generalized template, changing keywords and sentences.
The second way to write a cover letter is to spend quite a lot of time on a generalized template that demonstrates important aspects of your academics, leadership, and experience as it would relate to almost any position you’re interested in. If you’re, say, applying to both accounting and finance internships with very different responsibilities, two or three generalized templates (one for each general industry you’re looking to break into) might be a better option for you.
If you do choose this option, there are several crucial factors to keep in mind in order to find success. First, make sure you change everything (company name, address, phone number, specific role name, and other keywords) every time that you change the cover letter and edit the template for a new company. This option can be tricky because having a wrong phone number or wrong role is a dead giveaway that you did not personalize the letter as much as you should have, and is a red flag for employers. Second, have some sentences in the cover letter that you are able to quickly change or spin in a way that is more relevant for the new role you are applying for.
Additionally, if you choose to make your cover letter a template version with some edits, you may want to add more personalization into your application with a tailored resume that will show the company why you’re the perfect fit for the role. If your resume and cover letter are BOTH less personalized and less in-depth, it doesn’t maximize your chances of getting that offer and nobody wants that!
For an amazing list of cover letter tips, check this out.