I just received an email from a client who forwarded me a note from another résumé writing company. The headline indicated that “you don’t need a cover letter.” This is not exactly the way it was written, but I am going to protect the guilty here.
I have to beg to differ! A cover letter is absolutely NECESSARY! A cover letter to accompany your résumé is a not negotiable, it is a MUST HAVE. This is not open for discussion. Why, you ask? Here is a list of reasons why your résumé and cover letter go together like Frick and Frack:
- Your résumé and cover letter together are part of your personal and professional branding strategy. They should complement each other; the two documents work together to provide the reader with a full picture of who you are and what you offer.
- Yes, it’s true that you might not upload your cover letter to an internal database. The operative word there is ‘might’. There are plenty of sites that give you an opportunity to upload a cover. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to share something about yourself that you can’t include in the résumé? Your cover letter can do this for you.
- Here’s a scenario: You want to apply for a job that you think is a good fit for you. You don’t know it, but the hiring manager reads ALL of the cover letters she receives. You decide to submit the résumé without the cover letter. Do you think you are going to get the interview? Nope.
- Whether you are changing careers or looking for a new opportunity in the same field, a cover letter is important to help the reader learn something about you from a personal perspective. I don’t mean that you should be sharing ‘personal data’. You can incorporate things about your leadership and work ethic in the cover letter. It represents a great way to connect with someone.
- I can’t forget the all-important writing skills! A cover letter also demonstrates that you know how to write! No doubt you will need to write business emails – maybe even full-blown presentations in your new gig. A well-written cover letter will provide insight into your acumen in this area.
You simply cannot ignore the value of a cover letter. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the letter ‘won’t be read’. It is true that not everyone reads cover letters; it is also true that not everyone likes beets; but there are people who do!
You don’t know which hiring manager wants the cover letter versus a hiring manager who won’t read it. This is not an area where you should play roulette. Submit the cover; present yourself as a well-rounded and skilled professional; extend your brand through all of your interactions – including your cover letter!
Below is a sample cover letter:
[City, Country CODE]
Dear Hiring Manager:
An energetic and dynamic professional, I have demonstrated competencies in conducting strategic and financial analysis for investment and commercial banking, and hedge fund clients. As I pursue new opportunities, I would be pleased to leverage my collaborative approach to business, critical and creative thinking competencies as a [Title] with [Name of Firm].
[Name of Firm] holds particular appeal for me as I understand you [and something you know about them that has prompted you to write. Please draft 2-3 sentences regarding your knowledge of their business to demonstrate that you have done your homework, and have a clear and compelling reason for applying.
The following is a brief sample of the value I offer:
- Work with financial services clients to analyze financial statements as part of ensuring clients are reporting transactions and other business matters in accordance with government and industry regulations.
- Serve as a collaborative internal resource to assist the valuation team with forward contracts, currency swaps, warrants, employee share options and debt instruments. Utilize Excel modeling skills and Bloomberg to provide relevant and timely research and data.
- Successfully completed a Master of Laws in Banking and Financial Law. Relevant coursework included Mergers & Acquisitions, International Project Finance, Accounting, and International Securities Transactions.
- Completed a thesis analyzing the implementation of section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as it pertains to financial reporting of public companies in the U.S. and the competitiveness of the U.S. public equity market.
- Continuously apply skills in research, business and legal writing to present information in a clear and cogent manner. Previously served as an Intern in the Regulatory Services Department at XXX Limited, Hong Kong.
- Possess an international background with native fluency in Mandarin and Cantonese, and fluency in written and spoken English. Proficient understanding of US, Hong Kong, and Chinese capital markets, business practices, and cultures.
As a strong team player with leadership potential, I am poised to make short-and long-term contributions to your firm’s goals for growth and profitability. Determined to succeed in the investment banking industry, I am interested in investing a high level of time, energy, and diligence as part contributing to a successful operation. I look forward to speaking with you my qualifications and potential opportunities; thank you very much for your consideration.
Enclosure: Curriculum Vitae