Look, you’re probably a cool guy and all.  I’d love to hang out with you, maybe have a few drinks, but let me explain how to make that happen.  There’s a certain protocol for these kind of things.  You can’t just come walking into my house without any notice and helping yourself to a beer out of the refrigerator.  No, man.  I guarantee that’ll have an unhappy ending.  If you want to come on over, do it the right way.  Knock on the door first.  Maybe introduce yourself, then ask to come in.  There’s no guarantee I’ll even open the door, but at least you’ve given yourself a much better shot at scoring a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

                Yeah, that might sound like a stupid example, but that same thing happens every day when applicants send off their resume without stopping to add on a cover letter.  Look, you’ve put in all that work (or money) developing your resume, right?  Don’t blow it by attaching the thing to a 2-line email that says some nonsense.  I’ve seen them all, but this one’s got to be my all-time favorite:

                “I want to work for your company.  What can you do for me?”

                Look, dude.  We’re talking about a chance at a job that could pay more than you’ve ever made before in your life.  DON’T DO A HALFWAY THINGS, at least until you’re hired.  Then you can start slacking off at the PX like all the other security contractors.  For now, you should take the time to write a short, simple cover letter.  Keep it basic.  You want something that you can change a few words on to effectively customize it for each application you put in, so that you can just cut and paste it into the body of your email each time you send in a resume.  At the minimum, you’ll want to include the same information that you’d give if you came knocking at my door.  Namely, who the heck you are, and what the heck you want. 

                Writing a cover letter isn’t brain surgery, and it shouldn’t be painful.  Keep it to a paragraph or two.  Three at the most.  Your whole goal here should be to demonstrate that you can string two sentences together, while remembering to use Spell Check every time.  Almost every security position comes with some kind of report writing, so if you can convince a recruiter that you’re not illiterate even before he opens your resume, you’ve already got a few points up on the scoreboard.  Check out this sample if you’re still in need of more guidance.  This one is a little more business-oriented than you’ll probably need, but it’ll help you get started.

                I can’t overstress the importance of making a good first impression by email.  The cover letter is just one more way to show your professionalism and stand out you’re the other applicants.  Remember, you might be the most highly skilled security guru out there, but it’s those people who look like they know what they’re doing on paper who’re going to get called first.