The Case for Cover Letters

While not all staffing companies request a cover letter, it is a good idea to include one with your resume for several reasons. A cover letter is an additional opportunity to market your skills and abilities to the employer. It is an opportunity to present a complete picture of yourself and your attention to detail. It also allows you the opportunity to address unique situations that are difficult to include in your resumes such as relocation, gaps in work history, and career changes.

Make it compelling, personal and brief. Use active voice, not passive. Example – Passive: Was the supervisor of a six-person team; Active: Supervised six-person team.

Keep it specifically related to the position. Use the job description as an indicator of what’s most important to the staffing company hiring for the role. Circle or highlight keywords that stand out as unique to you and your experience.

Be positive. When the hiring manager receives this cover letter, you should include references to your resume in a way that demonstrates a positive outlook on your experience and potential.

Avoid references to salary or benefits. This is not the time for discussion regarding compensation. When the time comes, a staffing specialist will advise you, for now, focus on putting your best foot forward.

Include contact information as shown on your resume. If you’re submitting two documents in an application, ensure both as similar in style and contain the same contact information.

Proofread it and ask another person to proofread it, too. Once you have a template cover letter that you can reference, consult a friend or colleague. This should be as meticulous as your resume

Remember to sign it. While this is not as important, if you’re going this far to make a good impression you should at least make it as complete as possible.


Cover Letter Basics

Cover letters are typically two to four paragraphs in length.


When applying to a position at a staffing company, use the firm’s name and hiring manager’s title if known. Do not use a first name only. Use the entire name or last name such as “Dear Mr. Smith.” Otherwise, address the letter as “Dear Hiring Manager.”

First Paragraph

Your first sentence should tell how you learned of the possible opening. Use the remainder of the paragraph to express interest in a specific position or a particular kind of job and industry that you have enclosed a resume.

Second and Third Paragraphs

Your cover letter needs to fit the needs of the position and job of interest. Direct attention to your qualifications and industry knowledge. Remember, the purpose of your cover letter is to convince the staffing agency to read your resume and consider you from dozens to hundreds (even thousands) or applicants. The letter needs to be concise and professional.

Fourth Paragraph

Request an interview and express your interest in meeting with them at their earliest convenience. End the letter by thanking the person for his or her consideration.

Closing and Signature

May use Sincerely, Cordially, Respectfully.

For some job seekers, a resume may be all you need. Cover letters are just one more way to indicate interest for a position. Whether you’re applying for your first job as an event planner or making career moves in operations, let your resume and cover letter make the difference the next time you apply for a job.