A cover letter should introduce your resume. It should be clear and concise without going into the kind of detail used in the resume. At the same time, it should give employers a little meat to chew on. One way I do this is to include a sentence that highlights skills that will interest the employer.
Here are a few examples followed by the kind of job sought in parenthesis.
My duties have included maintaining schedules/calendars, travel arrangements, correspondence, and meeting planning. (Executive Assistant)
My duties included vendor management, negotiation, inventory control, and coordination of delivery and special orders. (Purchasing)
My duties have included store operations, event sales, recruiting, and training. (Retail Manager)
My duties have included all aspects of classroom instruction as well as extracurricular activities that encourage academic and personal development. (Teacher)
These are just a few examples of how a set of skills can be packaged in one sentence. Using this kind of sentence is one way you can keep you cover letter specific and concise.
Today a prospective client told me that he wasn’t getting calls because his cover letter didn’t “touch all the bases.” When I asked what he meant, the prospect began to rattle off detail after detail from his resume, a mad list of facts with no context.
I showed the prospect a couple examples of my cover letters, which are brief introductions to the resume and person sending it. He asked, “Does this work?” I answered by presenting a simple fact: If employers don’t want to read long resumes, why would they want to read even longer cover letters that just repeat what is in the resume?
In any kind of business writing, a cover letter has a simple purpose: To explain whatever is being sent with the letter. The other thing (resume, brochure, contract) is what’s important. Keep the cover letter tight, and readers will look at what is most important: your resume.
Sample cover letters for