You want to land your dream job, but you’re not sure how to stand out from the crowd. You’ve spent hours crafting your resume and skills section, but you still feel like something is missing.
That’s where a resume cover page comes in.
A cover page can make or break your chances of getting an interview, so you don’t want to skip this crucial step.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about a cover page. Follow these tips and you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream job!
- What Is a Resume Cover Page?
- Should a Resume Have a Cover Page?
- When Do You Need a Resume Cover Page?
- Why Do You Need a Resume Cover Page?
- What Do You Write on a Resume Cover Page?
- How Long Should Your Resume Cover Page Be?
- How Do You Do a Cover Page for a Resume?
- Best Resume Cover Page Templates
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping Up
What Is a Resume Cover Page?
A resume cover page is a letter you send along with your resume when applying for a job. It’s a thoughtful overview of your skills and experience that communicates why you’re the perfect candidate for the position.
Is a Cover Page the Same as a Cover Letter?
Yes! A cover page is the same thing as a cover letter.
So, when applying for a job, if they request a “cover letter,” “covering letter,” or “cover page,” you can use this guide as a reference. The terms are 100% interchangeable.
Should a Resume Have a Cover Page?
Yes, most resumes you submit should have a cover page. Some job applications may specifically request you not submit a cover page, but in every other situation, it’s best to provide one.
Many employers will dismiss your application immediately if it does not include a cover page, so the safer bet is to include one.
When Do You Need a Resume Cover Page?
You don’t want your resume rejected because you neglected to include a cover letter, but writing one can take time and effort, so you may not want to write one if it’s unnecessary.
Below are specific scenarios when you should include a cover page with your resume.
When It’s Required
Again, if the job description requires a cover page for the application, you must include one.
If a job description asks for one and you do not include it, they’ll likely ignore your application. Neglecting to include one when required shows a lack of ability to follow directions and can imply laziness.
When It’s Requested
When job descriptions say things like “cover letter preferred,” “include a cover page if desired,” or “cover page optional,” you should include one.
If you include a cover page when other candidates do not, your application and personality will stand out, increasing your odds of getting the job. It also shows the employer that you’re willing to go the extra mile and put in added effort for the position.
When Applying for a Job
Frankly, you should always include a cover page. The only time when you shouldn’t include one is if the job description expressly prohibits them.
However, this is rare. Again, when in doubt, write and include a cover letter!
Why Do You Need a Resume Cover Page?
You almost always need a resume cover page when submitting a job application. But why? What is the purpose of a resume cover page? And how does it help you get jobs?
Below are the top reasons to include a cover letter and why they can be beneficial.
Go More In Depth About How You’re a Good Fit
While your resume may show that you’re a good fit because of your experience and skills, it never hurts to drive the point home by explaining precisely why you’re perfect for this position.
Employers almost always connect these dots on their own, but thoroughly and thoughtfully explaining why you’re an excellent fit for the position only makes your application more compelling.
Explain Any Gaps in Your Resume
Resume gaps can cause problems when looking for a job. People have gaps in their resumes for all kinds of reasons, including medical leave, parental reasons, burnout recovery, personal development, or pandemic challenges.
Resume gaps are far less detrimental to your application if you explain the gaps.
And the best place to do this is in your cover letter! Address the gaps and summarize the reasons behind them while maintaining a self-assured tone.
Make a Strong Impression
A list of skills, achievements, and experiences can only communicate so much about who you are.
You may have similar qualifications to a dozen other applicants, but if your cover letter is engaging and interesting, it can give you a leg up on the competition.
A bland cover page won’t do much, but if you can craft a distinct and impactful cover page, it could be the difference that lands you the job.
Conveys Your Interest in a Position
Many people will “serial apply” to jobs, meaning they send their resumes to a whole host of companies at once.
This job hunt method is not ideal, as it means the applicants are not carefully applying to jobs and may not even be truly interested in the position.
But taking the time to write a cover page for the position shows that you’re interested and genuinely want the job, making it more likely the employer will consider you.
What Do You Write on a Resume Cover Page?
Now that you understand how important a cover page can be, you’re probably wondering how to write a quality letter. Below are the keys to crafting a high-quality, compelling, and professional cover page that will appeal to employers.
Don’t be afraid to let some of your personality shine through so the letter will be more memorable, but keep it professional. Ensure you include all the components discussed below.
Begin your letter with a professional greeting that addresses the employer.
It doesn’t have to be an overly formal greeting and should be short and sweet. However, it’s best to address the specific employer instead of starting with “to whom it may concern.”
This general greeting can imply you’ve written a boilerplate cover letter you plan to send to various companies, which is not the message you want to send.
Engaging Opening Paragraph
Start the letter with an engaging and memorable opening paragraph.
The first paragraph should highlight what position you’re applying for and how you found the job opening or company.
Keep the first paragraph short, sweet, and professional. Show excitement and authentic interest in the position and use positive words.
Expand on Your Resume Highlights
This next paragraph should be substantial. The second paragraph is your opportunity to highlight and expound on your skills, experiences, and achievements.
You should be confident and clear in this paragraph, but it’s okay to provide very short anecdotes that showcase your capabilities.
In this paragraph, try to be as concise as possible while emphasizing all your relevant skills and experiences. Try to sell yourself without coming off as braggy or arrogant, but this is your chance to make an impactful impression.
Explain Your Interest in the Position
The skills, experiences, and achievements mentioned in the second paragraph should seamlessly tie into the third paragraph, where you elaborate on how these skills and achievements make you ideal for the position.
Flattery will get you everywhere, so add in some positive comments or praises about the company, but don’t go overboard!
Convey the Value You Would Bring to the Company
You can do this in the third paragraph or create a fourth paragraph to specifically express why you’re the best candidate.
The best way to do this is to identify one or more of the company’s needs and then explain how your particular set of skills can fulfill these needs and improve the company.
You can also highlight the values that you and the company share!
Sign Off With a Professional Closing
End the letter with some specifics about your availability, your willingness to relocate, and the best way to contact you.
Thank them for taking the time to read your letter and for considering you as a candidate. Ensure you leave your contact details so they can reach you easily.
How Long Should Your Resume Cover Page Be?
As mentioned, the cover letter should be no more than one page.
Cover letters should be informative and engaging but still concise. Ideally, it should be between 250 and 500 words.
It’s meant to be a convenient glimpse into your job history, skills, and work ethic, but they don’t need your life story. As you know from the section above, the letter only needs three to four paragraphs.
And don’t forget, your resume also provides the specifics on your employment and skills, so you don’t need to mention every nitty-gritty detail of your skill set or job history in the letter. One page is the maximum, so if your cover letter is only half a page or two-thirds of a page, that’s fine and, in many cases, better than a full page.
How Do You Do a Cover Page for a Resume?
If you still feel stumped, you can use a resume builder.
Resume builders can also write a cover page for you in addition to creating your resume. But if you want to do it yourself, follow the easy steps below.
Find a Template
If it’s your first cover letter, we recommend using a template. Templates help you organize the cover letter and include a greeting, closing, and contact info. The section below will offer some cover page template recommendations for you.
Include All the Necessary Information
This step can be difficult because you must determine what information is essential and what you can leave out.
You’ll need to make these decisions, but an excellent way to decide what to include is to pick out skills, experiences, and achievements that directly relate to the position.
Select the most impactful and impressive skills and experiences and leave the rest out.
We suggest reviewing the resume and cover letter before submitting your application. Edit your cover letter for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and clarity. Review your resume and cover letter side by side to ensure there are no inconsistencies.
Best Resume Cover Page Templates
If you need a cover page template, we have a few recommendations. Check out our four favorite cover page template resources below.
Resume Cover Page Template Word
If you use Microsoft Word, you can access their template gallery and select the cover page template.
They have a handful of options, but for your first cover letter, we recommend choosing the basic one. If you use Apple Pages or Google Docs instead, they also have cover letter templates!
Zety is a top-notch resume and cover letter resource. They have resume builders and an array of professional templates, so we highly recommend checking out their cover letter options.
Not only do they have templates, but they also have cover page examples, formats, and tips for writing one!
Resume.IO is a free resume builder from Canva. Along with resume building, this resource also has a wide selection of cover letter templates you can browse.
Like Zety, this site also offers cover letter examples and writing tips, plus a cover letter builder.
Canva is a fantastic design and presentation tool.
They have a variety of templates and features for creating stunning cover pages, so we highly recommend exploring their cover page options. Not only do they have templates, but they also have cover page samples, layouts, and guides for making one!
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a couple of frequently asked questions.
Do all resumes need a cover letter?
Some employers may ask you not to include a cover letter, but otherwise all resumes need a cover page as it is a great tool to help you stand out, and is just as important as a reference page which provides references and adds credibility to your claims.
How do you structure a cover letter?
Cover letters should be structured like any formal business letter.
It needs a professional greeting, the body should be segmented into easy-to-read paragraphs, and the closing should be grateful and professional.
Learning how to write a remarkable cover page or collecting tips for writing a great resume can be the keys to landing your dream job.
All of these elements can seem overwhelming, but once you write a few cover pages, you’ll be a pro!
Hopefully, this article has given you a clear understanding of the importance of cover letters and how to write them so you can wow your next potential employer.