Written examples of your work experience such as resumes and cover letters have long been a topic of discussion. The relevance and importance of the resume has remained relatively steady as cover letters have received varying remarks on their necessity from professionals. Ultimately, the document(s) that you submit when initially applying for opportunities is the first impression of you and your experience and will typically be what firm owners and hiring managers use to decide whether or not to extend an invitation for further conversation. Keep reading because this month we dive in and unpack the importance of cover letters and objective sections within a resume and how they can help you optimize your first impression.
Cover letters are letters that you can and should include when possible to help explain and add additional context to your resume. Many opportunities may not specifically require you to write a cover letter, but it is an easy way to go above and beyond to set yourself apart from other candidates. Additionally, cover letters allow you the opportunity to share additional context with the firm about items on your resume or other things they should know about you that are not included in your resume. They are more personal and can assist the reviewer in gleaning additional insight about you and your potential fit with the team. Your cover letter is a great way to tie together the experience that you have on your resume and its application to the specific opportunity that you are applying for.
Learn more about what to specifically include in your cover letter in one of our latest YouTube videos.
Another option for optimizing your first impression is an objective statement included below the header of your resume. While not directly interchangeable, there is likely information that will overlap if you choose to do a cover letter and have an objective statement on your resume. Having both a cover letter and an objective statement would be overkill so choose one or the other. Objective statements can be particularly helpful for career changers and other new entrants into the profession to share a little bit about themselves, their background, and the professional and transition goals that they have as well as detail progress made. Since your resume can sometimes create bias based on your experience, it can be helpful to have a paragraph that tackles some of the questions that hiring managers might ask themselves as they review your resume.
Regardless of which form of optimization you decide, we recommend that you include everything in one document for easy uploading and tracking. The intention of each of these is that you can anticipate what the firm may be looking for based on information provided in the role and be able to create written documents (resume, cover letter, objective statement, etc.) that optimize your first impression and land you an interview. A lot of times the hardest part of the interview process is getting one scheduled based on your professional document screening which is why it is imperative to optimize your first impression.
If you are entering the financial planning profession or seeking the perfect fit with a top-tier financial planning firm, submit your resume here or peruse our openings for entry-level planners. We are here to help you in any way we can so you can secure your dream job!