Probably one of the most popular questions I see when it comes to resumes and seeking employment; the cover letter.

Over the years, I’ve heard that many people are suggesting that cover letters are a thing of the past and it’s a waste of time to include them; I disagree.

If you’re using a cover letter that includes a boring copy and paste paragraph, then sure, get rid of it. But, if instead, you’d like to grab the attention of the hiring manager here’s your opportunity.

See, with a cover letter you have a chance to engage the reader without them getting buried in all the information you’ve crowded onto your one page resume design.

Here you can sell who you are, what you’re about, what you’ve done and give them a sneak peek into who you are as a person.

A dynamite statement can intrigue the hiring manager into reading on or inviting you in for an in-person interview to get to know you more.

Whether you’re sending resumes the old fashioned paper method or taking advantage of our paperless, digital world I recommend sending a cover letter designed to impress. What does that look like? Here are few things to consider:

  • Address the hiring manager by name. Do NOT use Sir or Madam, cheesy! If you’re unsure Google the company and do some homework, if that fails pick up the phone and ask. It feels more personal and shows that you did your homework.
  • Mention the name of the company and why you want to work there. Research the company first; they’ll spot a fake a mile away.
  • Show what value you personally will bring to the company, don’t just say “I’m the best candidate” Everyone else is saying that too and prospective employers are put off by it.
  • Keep it simple. Do not write an entire page. I recommend three paragraphs: Introduction, Value, and Action. In the final paragraph ask for an interview and indicate when exactly you plan to follow-up, then follow through.

It’s worth taking some extra time to hammer down a cover letter that will impress. You might also consider a creative way to deliver. Take the time to ensure your cover is error-free and has perfect grammar and punctuation; cover letters are similar to a writing test and a small oversight can ruin your chances of moving forward.

No matter what others tell you, cover letters are still alive and well. When used correctly, cover letters can make you stand out from the bunch and land you the perfect interview for the job of your dreams.