I often have candidates apply for positions with resumes that do not show the appropriate skills for the position. When I go back to them for more information on their qualifications I occasionally hear "that information was in my cover-letter". At times I haven't even received their cover-letter. Why would one want to put significant skills information on a cover letter and not include it in the body of a resume? [that is a rhetorical question] Generally when a candidate submits their resume to a recruiter that resume is uploaded into a "Candidate Tracking" Database. If the "cover-letter" was written in the body of the email and not sent as an attachment it often does not end up in the database, so that information is lost forever, particularly depending on how well the recruiter makes notes in the candidate file.
A cover letter should house the following information and never be longer than 2 or 3 paragraphs:
- Highlights of background and achievements (pertaining to the job description)
- Salary or compensation desires
- Willingness to travel or relocate (pertaining to requirements of the job)
- Date of availability
- Reason for interest in the position
The cover letter should only bring them to the attention of the employer as a teaser so they actually review your resume.
Resume content is extremely important. You never want to be too wordy but you also want to make sure you're representing your qualifications thoroughly. Below are two examples. Both from the same candidate. The first one was from the initial resume, the second was from the re-vamped / updated resume. I've included a brief job description to show what the candidate had applied for:
Job Description: 12 month engagement for an experienced Cerner CPOE Trainer.
Must have: At least 2 years of recent Cerner CPOE training in a classroom and elbow to elbow environment, must have excellent communication skills, particularly with Physicians. Must have prior curriculum build experience. Clinical experience a plus but not necessary.
XYZ Healthcare System 2010 - Present
>Go-Live Support and Training
>Order entry with CPOE
>Both on-site and virtual training of staff
XYZ Healthcare System 2010 - Present
Cerner CPOE Trainer
> Classroom, Shoulder to Shoulder and web-based training of over 1200 Clinicians and Physicians for a 3 hospital Cerner CPOE go-live.
>Assisted with development of hospital training materials and curriculum development utilizing Adobe Captivate.
>Involved with multiple disciplines : Pharmacy, Surgery, Radiology, ED and NICU.
>Responsible for teaching schedules, go-live schedules and communications.
>Provided workflow and gap analysis
>Exposure to and understanding of: FirstNet, SurgiNet, PharmNet, RadNet, along with PowerChart, PowerNotes, PowerPlans, CPOE and LightHouse.
>Proficient in Microsoft Suite / Tools
>Proficient in Order Entry
See how much more information the 2nd example gives without being over-whelming? A Recruiter can confidently send the 2nd example to their client knowing the client won't come back to them with a multitude of questions on how that candidate is a fit for their job opening.
Always keep in mind that we are now living in a virtual world and you no longer have the luxury of handing your resume to your prospective employer face to face. Your resume must stand alone and sell your qualifications. If you've done it and it's relevant to your desired employment... LIST IT! When in doubt, ask a qualified recruiter from your industry to review your resume and provide you with suggestions.
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