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How to Evaluate a Resume Cover Letter

What to Look for in an Effective Resume Cover Letter


Pile of resumes with glasses and pen.
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Resume cover letters ought to matter to employers. They are reviewed first by the potential employer who is looking for reasons in the cover letter and resume to rule out the application.

As an employer, you are also seeking the resume and cover letter that describe the candidate who will best fill your position. A thoughtful cover letter tells you that the candidate took the time to customize his application to fit your needs. Perhaps the applicant with a superior cover letter, will make a superior employee.

A well-written, carefully typed, error-free resume cover letter should immediately set the application apart from the average application you receive. Take a look at my earlier article, Why Resume Cover Letters Should Matter to Employers. This cover letter is among the better application letters I have received recently. I’ll review with you why I found this letter so powerful.

Why This Resume Cover Letter Is Effective

This cover letter is effective for these reasons:

  • Does not presume to know the gender of the person to whom it is addressed. The letter is addressed to a specific person.
  • Made it easy for you to contact him. Provided both cell and home phone numbers.
  • States immediately the position for which the candidate is applying.
  • Highlights the two most important items that qualify the individual for the position in the first paragraph.
  • Invites the employer to learn more about the candidate’s skills and experience in the enclosed resume.
  • Summarizes character traits, skills, and values in the second paragraph.
  • Matches the candidate’s specific skills and experience with what the employer advertised in the job posting.
  • Ends with a summary of qualifications and the value he can bring to the organization.
  • States salary requirements, as requested in the job posting.
  • Gives the potential employer a good sense of whom this applicant is and what the candidate values.
  • Ends with a call to action. (This could have been a stronger call to action.)

If you craft each cover letter as effectively as this sample, you'll find your next opportunity quickly and reduce the time you spend job searching.

Take a look at the resume cover letter this analysis encompasses.

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