You’ve introduced yourself and told the hiring manager why you are a great fit for her job opening. You have used keywords from the job description so that computer screeners will flag you for further review. You have been personable and professional–and brief. Now to tie it all up with a bow.

Some people will say that cover letters are dead and unnecessary, since “no one reads them anyway.” Certainly there are hiring managers who are not reading cover letters, but there are also some tossing out any resume that does not have one. We recommend always including a cover letter with a resume or job application when it is permitted. A hiring manager then has the choice of learning more about you than your resume can show.

We have written about salutations but the last thing in your cover letter might be what the hiring manager remembers. Here is our advice on finishing it off:

  • Mission–If you have done your research, you should have come across the company’s mission statement or vision. We hope that mission is something that piques your interest. Tell him why that mission is something you are excited about.
  • Readiness–She will know your qualifications from your resume. Finish your cover letter with a clear statement of how prepared you are to get started right away being a productive member of her team.
  • Contribution–You want to work at this company because you can help it grow and thrive, not just to further your own career. The rest of your letter was about you, let the closing be about them.
  • Follow-up–Be clear about how and when you will get in touch with the hiring manager to check on the process. Put it on your calendar and make sure you follow through.
  • Appreciation–If the hiring manager has indeed read your letter, she has already invested time in you. Be appreciative of that for its own sake. Say thank you.

Your cover letter may not be read and it may not get you an interview, but don’t miss this opportunity to have your voice heard by the person who decides which candidate is worth bringing in. Make sure you are presenting yourself as well as possible. And proofread!

Wendy Stackhouse for Artisan Creative