This is also a great opportunity to tell your story or make a connection with the company. Perhaps you have a large gap in work history because you stayed at home with your kids. Perhaps you have a personal connection with the company because values it expresses — say, its use of eco-friendly materials — mesh with your values. This is a great way to connect with the employer as all those applications are filtered down to the top five that get an interview.
I always encourage ending a cover letter by thanking the employer for his or her time and for considering you for the position. A great way to demonstrate your reliability is to state what materials you have enclosed, for example, your resume and references, as well as your intention to follow up within a specified timeframe. The second part could be scary for some; tackle it if you are confident enough to make that follow-up contact. It can show both your reliability and your determination to get the job.
So back to my first question. Are cover letters important? Yes! If anything, the cover letter tells that prospective employer that you are professional and willing to go the extra mile. Priceless!
Shannon Niedzwicki, director of Career Services for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region, writes an occasional series of columns on finding jobs and succeeding in the workplace. For more information, email Niedzwicki at email@example.com.