You might be thinking: a philosophy about a cover letter? What’s the importance of that?

It’s important to understand there’s a philosophy to each document or activity involved in career development. These philosophies deal with the “Why” of them. So while one might know how to write a cover letter one might not understand the reasons why it’s valuable to write it. Without this why, or philosophy, we simply go through the motions and that mental attitude inevitably influences our manifestations meaning…the effort we apply to this document will show up in how well-written it is, and how effective the message is transmitted to the reader.

We know a resume is important but why?

Why is a thank you letter useful?

Why is it important to have a portfolio?

Why Write a Cover Letter?

The cover letter is a conversation on paper. Employers sometimes list this as a mandatory document in addition to the resume, and it often is read preceding the resume. To some it can feel like an extra, unnecessary step and sometimes ignore that section, only sending the resume. Or filling out the application online. Do know: if you skip it when it’s asked of you, you’ve already lost the candidacy.

Cover letters are conversations you would have if speaking to the contact in person. It’s written to serve as your introduction; it opens communication about who you are and how your contributions merge with the opportunity to become an asset. While the resume is a snapshot of your professional data, the cover is a brief description that leads the reader into your resume.

3 Components of the Cover Letter

Who Are You? This is a brief explanation about your background and how you came to find the opportunity. Was it online? Through a mutual friend? A job fair?

Your Capacities. This section involves your abilities, talents and skills developed over time. This is also the space where you show how what you’ve cultivated is most suitable for the role applied to, and how this synergy creates value in the organization as a whole.

Conclusion. In this section you offer thanks and appreciation for the opportunity to apply. More haughty personalities may see this as a form of kissing ass, but realistically….you’re sitting down with an opportunity to acquire whatever it is you’re after. If you have no job at that point, here is a chance to alter the road map on your journey. If not appreciative of the individual connecting with you, at least experience appreciation for the power of your spirit to bring the opportunity to you. Close this section with a formal “Sincerely” or alternative. Type, and if giving in-person, sign your name on the paper. It’s style and adds an additional seal of proof that you endorse this document.

Final Note: Cover letter philosophy is not just for acquiring jobs. It’s an introduction skill that becomes useful when communicating in all formats where you need to explain who you are and your purpose for communicating. That includes E-mails, text messages, snail mail and even outreach copy.

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