You asked, and we listened: We’ve added a new feature that allows job seekers to upload an extra file in addition to your resume. You still have the opportunity to use the cover letter text box, but if you’re interested in preserving the formatting of your cover letter as-is – including bolding, italics, bullet points, or other features – you can now upload your cover letter as a .doc, .pdf, or .rtf file. Alternately, you can upload a file to meet any further requirements – a writing sample, reference list, or anything else outside the traditional cover letter and resume.
Adding an extra file is simple. As highlighted in the screenshot below, just click on the “Choose File” button to upload directly from your hard drive, or click one of the red import buttons to pull a file from an online drive. Of course, you’ll still be able to copy and paste your cover letter into the text box, should you need to attach a different kind of document.
And in case you could use a few cover letter pointers – who couldn’t? – Work for Good contributor Vu Le took time to collect and collate the top gripes of hiring managers in his social media circles for his blog, Nonprofit AF. Included among the 40 tips for applicants, he determined these cover letter musts:
Send an actual cover letter if requested. “Please see attached resume” is not a cover letter.
Don’t start your cover letter with “Dear Sir.” Apparently, this happens a lot, and the sexism is irritating. Research who is doing the hiring and address them. If you can’t find out, address it to “Dear Hiring Committee.”
Customize your cover letter. Says a colleague, “Tell me exactly why you are the best person for this job. Don’t make me connect the dots and don’t waste my time with a laundry list of jobs you’ve held before; that’s what your resume is for.”
Don’t get the organization’s name wrong in your cover letter. You should always proofread your application for typos and grammar mistakes. Those things are not always deal-breakers. But huge errors like getting the org’s name or mission wrong will automatically get you rejected.
Do use PDF for your cover letter. It preserves formatting and makes everything look nicer. And it avoids your accidentally sending in a document with changes tracked.
Don’t lie on your resume or cover letter or during the interview, ever. If you do, heck, you may even get the job. But you will likely get fired as soon as someone discovers that you lied about something. And even if you don’t get fired, that possibility will always hang over your head. That’s not fun at all.
Marc Schultz is communications editor at Work for Good.