Cover letters are usually boring. About 98 percent of the time it’s entirely possible that your cover letter is just like the last one that the employer read. In fact, while not word for word, I’ll bet it goes something like:
To whom it may concern:
“I noticed your ad for a litigation paralegal. I am an experienced paralegal with 10 years of experience. I have attached my resume for your review.
“I am seeking a challenging position which offers me the opportunity for growth. I have extensive litigation experience and excellent skills: I have great attention to detail, am organized, an expert in research, and a team-player. I am seeking a position where I can utilize my background and skills.
“I can be reached at (213) 555.1212. I will call you next week in order to schedule an interview. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
As an employer, here’s all I can say: Blech! This person does not stand out from the crowd. He/she sounds just like everyone else. (Let’s not even talk about the resume.)
Here’s a little known secret: A resume only talks about 20 percent of the information you need to impart in order to get a job. It reveals none of the remaining 80 percent of the information upon which hiring decisions are based. These decisions are primarily based upon emotion. Do I like this person? That’s the first thing that goes through an employer’s mind. The resume does not speak to your personality, creativity, work style, work habits, or critical thinking. Rarely will a resume tell a hiring authority you are precisely the right candidate. Only a letter can reveal these things about you – and more.