4 Ways to Make Your Resume and Cover Letter Work Together

Working in the resume biz, I hear a lot about cover letters. Some people love them, some hate them, while others are more or less indifferent.

I think of the cover letter as a kind of sidekick to the almighty resume. Savvy job seekers know that a solid cover letter and resume are a match made in heaven.

What is a cover letter?

According to oh-so-helpful Wikipedia, a cover letter is “a way [for job seekers to] introduce themselves to potential employers and explain their suitability for the desired position.”

Usually included before your resume, a cover letter serves as a short introduction before readers can dive into the cold-hard facts on your resume.

What’s the point of a cover letter?

You’ve probably heard plenty about how employers don’t read cover letters, they’re just fluff, there’s no point, etc. I wish I could tell you this isn’t true, but it usually is. However, know that for every employer that glosses over your cover letter, there are multiple who will read it.

As I wrote earlier, your resume is (or at least should be) solid facts about your skills, experience, and education, amongst other things. Your cover letter is your opportunity to create a personality behind the qualifications. This is the perfect venue for you to share a “soft skill,” anecdote, or something else that can’t necessarily be housed in a bullet point.

How can I get my cover letter to work with my resume?

Tailor it

Were you a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew fan? This is your chance to channel your inner sleuth. Investigate the company and figure out who is going to be reading your cover letter. Thanks to LinkedIn and Twitter, you really have no excuse to not find out this information.

Once you have the vital data, you can tailor your resume and cover letter to fit the ​employer perfectly. Your cover letter is far more liquid than your resume is, so really make it tailored to fit.

Keep it short and sweet

Just like your resume, your cover letter shouldn’t be a novel. Definitely stick to the one-page rule, with short paragraphs. This makes your cover letter exponentially more attractive to read than a large block-o-text your competitors are sending out.

Refer back

Your cover letter and your resume should be a team, not two separate documents. Your cover letter exists to persuade employers to read your resume, so tie them together as much as possible. Refer to positions outlined in your resume and elaborate on other qualifications.

Stick with the email/attach method

Some job seekers will put both their cover letter and resume in the same file while others will attach both the cover letter and resume to an email. They might work, but for the most part, it’s irritating for the employer.

Copy and paste your cover letter in the email body while you attach your resume. This makes things worlds easier for your next boss.


What do you think? Do you think cover letters are important? How can a job seeker make sure their cover letters are working well with resumes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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