Let’s face it, applying for jobs online can be a tedious task. While arguably there are
better ways to find a new job, many people still apply for job openings they find online.
When you do this, part of the application process can include submitting a cover letter
and even a few references. There are several reasons to have a cover letter template
and references readily available.
Some employers continue to place importance on a cover letter. According to
Indeed.com, cover letters still hold value for employers, “A cover letter shows the
employer that you take the job opportunity seriously and are prepared to take more
initiative to be considered for the job.” Sure, they may not even look at your cover letter
or only skim a line or two, but even its presence with your application could speak
volumes to an employer. Since it’s best to have one, use it to your advantage. Highlight
anything that shows off your skills and how you would excel at the required duties for
Having a list of references ready serves more than one purpose. Think of your
references as more than just a list of previous managers. Even if you aren’t readily
looking for a job, keeping in touch with people who can serve as references for you
allow you to hear about opportunities you otherwise might not. In a way, it’s another
form of networking. So, stay in touch with people who can vouch for your work ethic and
keep their contact information handy. Also, regularly check in that they are okay with still
serving as your reference so they don’t get any surprise calls from future employers.
When you should use your references. It’s a good idea to have references available just
about anytime. Again, you may not even be looking for a new position, but continually
staying in touch with people who you have a professional relationship with is good for
your career. Definitely have a list of references ready to go before you attend an
interview. Think about how impressive it is to pull out a list of 3-5 professional
references when told you can send those over later. Even if you’re not asked for them,
you could leave behind a list as you leave an in-person interview.
With so much changing in the ways we job search today, it’s easy to think details like
cover letters and reference lists are outdated. But, there are employers that still put an
emphasis on these documents, so you’re covering all of your bases to have them
prepared ahead of time. Use any chance you can to stand out to a future employer. The
best strategy is to use them to your advantage by pointing out what makes you great in
a cover letter and letting others brag about you as a reference.