A Cover letter is one of the best opportunities you will get to differentiate yourself from everybody else, and in fact, a well written cover letter will make a big difference in whether you will be seriously considered for an interview and ultimately a job offer for a great municipal job.
You know that the sum total of who you are is a lot more than a few sentences or bullet points in a resume! Look at it this way … a cover letter is your opportunity to show off ‘the REAL you!’ There are compelling stories about where you’ve been and what you’ve done that demonstrate your personality, highlight your strengths and underscore your skills stories. Your stories will illustrate how all those traits showed up as you have developed your career.
A WELL-WRITTEN COVER LETTER WILL DEMONSTRATE SEVERAL KEY THINGS ABOUT YOU:
1.) IT WILL VALIDATE YOUR WRITING SKILLS: Your ability to craft a well-thought-out argument/narrative explaining why you want the job and why that municipality should hire you will demonstrate your writing skills … it is one of the most critical elements being considered in the hiring process.
2.) IT WILL HIGH-LIGHT YOUR STRENGTHS AND ABILITIES: While a resume is a chronology of the municipalities where you have worked and bullets outline your accomplishments, a well-written cover letter affords you the opportunity to detail how your strengths and specific abilities have made you successful in your career.
3.) IT WILL REVEAL YOUR PERSONALITY: You’ve got a personality, passions, goals and career experiences that make you unlike any other candidate for the job. It’s up to you to share this information in your cover letter in a way that dazzles employers and strengthens your resume. A well-written cover letter will spark an interest from a municipality in wanting to meet you.
4.) IT WILL SHOW YOUR GENUINE INTEREST: A well-written cover letter shows the prospective municipal employer that you’ve taken the time to analyze the job posting –that you understand the opportunity and how your background will be a ‘FIT” for their municipality. It also is your opportunity to explain, in compelling terms, why you want the job and it will show the employer that you’ve researched their municipality further demonstrating why you’d be a good ‘FIT’.
Remember: Every cover letter needs to be carefully personalized and specifically addressed to each job posting. Sure it’s okay to copy and paste certain common elements, but each cover letter needs to be targeted towards the job and the municipality where you are applying. I know that this may seem time-consuming and having to write a lot of letters may seem daunting, yet a well-written cover letter is a necessary job seeking skill that becomes easier as you do it more. The cover letter needs verse, sparkle and finesse. A cut-and-paste retread from your resume is redundant and squanders a prime opportunity to stand out from the crowd.
Recently, when one municipal HR manager was asked for his opinion of cover letters, here’s how he responded: “I can tell you that as the HR Manager I am impressed when someone takes the time to write a cover letter. Frankly, they stand out. At a minimum they will get an email response and I’ll be looking for reasons to give them an interview. A well-written cover letter almost always means they will get a phone interview at the very least…. AND a personalized cover letter moves the resume to the front of the line.
When I’m hiring, a cover letter is a must. People quite often get a lot of advice and support around the idea of crafting their resume. The people I hire need to be good communicators. A well-written cover letter is one of the ways I can determine their general writing ability. It will also show how they link their experience to the job I’m filling.”
More Personalization Tips for Cover Letters
Continued good luck in your job search!