In our modern internet age the cover letter is not getting it's due credit. Job seekers are more than willing to pay top-dollar for a well-written and well-researched resume. In fact, some services (though not this one) charge up to $500.00 for an executive level resume. However, many of these same services throw in the cover letter as an after thought.
Worse, many job hunters treat the cover letter in the same way. "It is just an introductory letter," they say. "Most employers probably don't even read it anyway."
A quality cover letter is more important than you think.
This could not be further from the truth. I personally know of at least three cases, where I was intimately involved, where the cover letter is what landed the job candidate the interview, not the resume. A well-written cover letter can highlight the candidate's strongest attributes in a way a resume simply can not. A resume needs to include a more complete picture of your history. A cover letter can zero in on two or three key components.
Cover letters are the first thing a potential employer will see upon opening your application. Your cover letter tells an employer a lot about you. It is a personal sales pitch. You need to show why you are a perfect match for the position. Determine what skills do you have that match the company. List two or three bullet pointed highlights. Tailor your experience to the company's needs.
Finally, put some thought into how you want to present the cover letter. The most common way is to craft it in a matching format together with the resume and post interview thank you letter. However, if you are emailing the resume as an attachment you may want to consider using the text of the email as your cover letter.
Whatever you decide, don't short change the letter. In a job market as tough as ours, a candidate needs to use ever tool at his disposal to stand out.