How to Evaluate a Resume Cover Letter

What to Look for in an Effective Resume Cover Letter

A smiling successful businesswoman reviews and evaluates a resume cover letter on her laptop that she likes.

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Resume cover letters ought to matter to employers. They are reviewed first by the potential employer who is looking for reasons in the cover letter and resume to rule out the application. Or, the employer seeks to become convinced that the person who has written the resume cover letter is indeed, a potential fit for the open job.

As an employer, you are also seeking the resume and cover letter that describe the candidate who will best fill your position. A thoughtful cover letter tells you that the candidate took the time to customize his application to fit your needs. Perhaps the applicant with a superior cover letter will make a superior employee.

A well-written, carefully typed, error-free resume cover letter should immediately set the application apart from the average application you receive. Take a look at the earlier article, "Why Resume Cover Letters Should Matter to Employers." This cover letter is among the better job application letters reviewed—ever. Here's why this letter is so powerful.

Why This Resume Cover Letter Is Effective

This cover letter is effective for these many reasons. The resume cover letter:

  • Does not presume to know the gender of the person to whom it is addressed. The letter is addressed to a specific person.
  • Made it easy for you to contact him. Provided both cell and home phone numbers.
  • States immediately the position for which the candidate is applying. The candidate doesn't play "guess" with you.
  • Highlights the two most important items that qualify the individual for the position in the first paragraph.
  • Invites the employer to learn more about the candidate’s skills and experience in the enclosed resume.
  • Summarizes the candidate's character traits, skills, and values in the second paragraph.
  • Matches the candidate’s specific skills and experience with what the employer advertised in the job posting.
  • Ends with a summary of his qualifications and reemphasizes the value he can bring to your organization.
  • States salary requirements, as requested in the job posting. (Take care when you ask for current salary in your job postings. The practice is increasingly viewed as discriminatory to women and is banned in an increasing number of jurisdictions.)
  • Gives the potential employer a good sense of whom this applicant is and what the candidate values.
  • Ends with a call to action. (This could have been a stronger call to action.)

If you craft each cover letter as effectively as this sample, you'll find your next opportunity quickly and reduce the time you spend job searching.

Sample Resume Cover Letter Analyzed

This is the resume cover letter this analysis encompasses. This is an excellent example of what employers want to see in a resume cover letter.

Applicant Name

Applicant Address City, State, Zip Code

Phone: (000) 000-0000 Cell: (000) 000-0000 E-mail:


Hiring Manager, Owner, HR Staff Name
Company Name
Company Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr. or Ms. (Last Name):

In response to your posting for an Operations Manager, I am enclosing my resume for your review. Given my proven record of work performance and experience in operations management and lean manufacturing, I would like to be considered for the position.

I pride myself on being a results-oriented, hands-on individual with progressive management experience. My management style strongly emphasizes teamwork and the principles of lean manufacturing. An evaluation of my resume will further acquaint you with my background and qualifications for this position.

Your Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree and 5+ years of progressive management experience.
  2. Lean manufacturing training and/or certification; a black belt or other significant training in quality; and continuous improvement or kaizen experience are desirable.
  3. The applicant will be a quality fanatic, understand the requirements of ISO certifications, and have excellent communication, computer, and leadership skills.

My Qualifications

  1. BBA degree. Ten plus years of progressive manufacturing management experience and growth.
  2. Lean training through Walt Hancock, John Smith, and other programs. Six-Sigma and other training in ISO and quality. Team building and C.I. training through Susan Heathfield. Kaizen experience through Company Name, Masco, and Toyota.
  3. Demonstrated leadership capability in driving operations excellence and meeting goals and objectives through teamwork, lean manufacturing, and a quality focus. Quantifiable results achieved:
    --Reduced scrap and waste by 26 percent.
    --Increased delivery performance from 78 percent to 96 percent.
    --Reduced lead times by 80 percent.
    --Reduced complex setups by 74 percent.

In your review of my resume, you will note my growth and experience. What it cannot illustrate, however, is the degree of dedication, resourcefulness, and professionalism that I can offer.

A personal conversation will enable us to discuss how I can contribute to the success of your company. My salary requirements for this position are $00,000+. I look forward to pursuing this relationship with you in the near future.


Candidate’s Name


The cover letter does all of the work for the employer. It improves the likelihood that the employer will see a match between what they need and what this candidate has to offer. Cover letter goal? Accomplished.