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A cover letter is submitted with a resume during the application process. It gives you an opportunity to market yourself, show a very high level of interest in a job and show how well you fit with the job posting.  It can also be included in the leave-behind package after an interview, along with your resume, business card, profile and other appropriate artifacts.

The value of a cover letter is to concisely show your match with, relevance to and interest in the company. While many cover letters may not be read, discounted or not passed along in the process, they can make a difference and be a differentiator in some circumstances. As a job seeker, you may never know what those circumstances are.

Using a T-format to demonstrate job posting needs matched against your background and experience shows how well you fit to the position. You are the missing piece of the puzzle that will help the hiring manager solve his problem. The left column contains the key elements from the job posting and the right column contains an explanation of past accomplishments related to the key element.

A cover letter often moves you to the front of the line with most 3rd party recruiters.

In an interview, a reference to the cover letter is a great conversation starter. You can use the cover letter along with the resume to draw the interviewer’s attention to those most important points.

Having a template to work from is an advantage in many situations where time is of the essence. Writing the perfect cover letter for an opportunity that just materialized and has a short response window requires a carefully crafted template to start from.

Here is a sample template:

Dear Ms. Scott,

Thank you for sharing the IT Director description we spoke about on Tuesday. Your client is looking for a proven leader with a technical/function skill mix to take charge in leading a team environment in a complex environment. This leader knows how to balance strategy and operations to deliver a well-rounded suite of IT services and infrastructure. You need a leader who can make a difference from the outset – one who has a proven track record. I am that person.

My resume contains a history of jobs where I have performed the responsibilities listed in the position descriptions. I’d like to summarize some of the experience, education and required skills I have in relation to the essential job functions that make me believe I am a strong match for the opportunity. I also invite you to contact my references and review my Linked In profile for further detailed information.

The following shows selected examples of how well my qualifications and experience match your client’s four most important needs as expressed in the postings:

Operations Management While at Sprint as Operations Manager, I built and ran an Operations Analysis section for Sprint’s then eight data centers. We consolidated to three data centers, established disaster recovery/business continuity plans and improved availability and response times.
Vendor Management While at VarTec Telecom as Director of Quality Assurance/Program Management, I created effective contracts through an RFP process. I worked with the Legal Department to identify deliverables, tie a payment schedule to the deliverables, place incentives for early delivery, and penalties for non-delivery.
Department Management During my tenure as Web Development Manager/Shadow CIO at UniTrin Business Insurance, I established a budget baseline and a monthly process to identify, justify and procure appropriate expenditures
People Management In the rare exceptions where a person is not a fit for the business or no longer demonstrates a desire to produce the required work product in a professional manner, I’ve exercised the corrective action required to address the issue, by obtaining the behavior change necessary or by separating the individual from the organization through appropriate human resource processes.

The achievements provided above are examples of what I have accomplished. I would like the opportunity to share with the client just how these results were achieved. More importantly, during our interview I would like to discuss how the client and I could produce similar results working together.

I am in the process of considering some other opportunities that will soon require a decision. Consequently, I would like to schedule an interview with your client at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for your consideration.


Gerry D. Mann

I strongly recommend adding a cover letter template to your arsenal of job search tools. It can give you an advantage in responding quickly, showing initiative, providing additional information that may help you get through a filtering process and with everything else being equal between you and another candidate, be the tipping point towards advancing through the hiring process.

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Job Search Table Of Contents