When is a Cover Letter Make or Break?

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Switching career paths can be a tricky road to navigate. Cover letters are a great tool to lead the way.

If your resume is filled with biological research experience but you want a role in sales, how do you portray your interest and value on paper? An effective cover letter increases the chance that you’ll catch the hiring manager’s eye. Otherwise, they may assume your resume landed on their desk by mistake.

Your diverse experience could be exactly what they are looking for, but you need to be creative to get them to see it.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

A great cover letter allows you to display your professionalism, and your unique career path goals more than a resume. Keep things in mind while building your cover letter to tell your story and catch the hiring managers attention:

  1. The Details Matter – Make It Perfect

    Is the date correct? Are you addressing the appropriate person? Do you use proper grammar and write in active voice? Are typos nonexistent? These small details matter when you have a few seconds of the hiring manager’s attention. Also, make sure to note which role you’re applying for. When in doubt, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and think about what they would benefit from reading.

  2. A Short & Sweet Introduction

    Your introduction should be short and succinct. Briefly introduce yourself as a professional and how you fit the posted position. For example, if you’re applying for a career in sales but your experience is in research, your introduction may be, “I’m an experienced biological researcher looking to utilize my background and communication skills as a biomedical equipment sales director.”

  3. Keep it Skimmable

    The hiring manager likely won’t read through your entire cover letter. According to a research study, 33 percent of employers look for mention of the skills they asked for in the job description. Call this out clearly in your cover letter by pulling exact requirements from the job description into the letter and stating your qualifications.

  4. Translate Your Current Experience

    Regardless of whether you’re new to an industry or have been in it for 20 years, you want to translate your experience into value for the new role. Find the transferable skills that set you apart and qualify you for the role ­– then creatively and concisely list them in the cover letter.

Cover letters can be challenging to write, and our team of professional career coaches would love to help!

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals and students achieve their goals through job search execution services.

Posted on July 16, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.