Writing a cover letter is something many employers will tell you is an essential part of the job process in order to get your resume read, and we have to agree. It’s something that shows you put the extra effort in, and sets you aside from the numerous resume’s that get sent through by themselves. A great cover letter complement’s your resume by highlighting your skills, and adds a personal touch by demonstrating your writing style in explaining why you make the best fit for a position. A cover letter is usually the first written contact you have with a potential employer, so naturally, you want to make a sure it has the best impact as possible.
Effective cover letters are no longer than a page (you don’t want to bore the reader) and no shorter than a paragraph. You want to get your points across, yet make it flow and enjoyable for the reader.
If emailing your resume to a potential employer, put your cover letter in the body of the email rather than an attachment. This way you are able to reach the employer with your words, and it will encourage them to open your resume.
Answer the question “Why should I see you?” This may be the most important thing to remember when shaping a cover letter. These employers are taking the time out to read your document, and make the executive decision whether or not to open their doors for you. Summarize your strengths, and include details about why you are writing: what exactly about the company excites and motivates you? Feel free to delve into details about what brought the role to your attention, how you became interested in the industry or company, and why your past experience makes you a perfect fit for a career within that realm. Make sure you use the right tone; you want to be professional yet carefully assertive.
Tailor your skills from the job description to fit into your explanation. You’ll want your experience, personality and capabilities to reflect what is asked for by the employer. Try and mirror what is in the job description.
Highlight details from your resume. Explain any gaps, mention additional accomplishments and correlate your experience that is relevant to the job or industry. You don’t want to explain your entire role at a company, that’s meant for the interview phase. Instead, touch upon a position briefly, and connect it to the current posting.
Stay positive throughout the note, after all you are selling yourself! Be enthusiastic, and never bad mouth your old company or boss, or explain why you quit your last job.
Thank the employer. Make sure you thank the reader for their time, and offer to provide any other information if needed. Sign off with an appropriate signature, such as sincerely or best regards, and say that you look forward to hearing from them soon!
Additionally, make sure you never lie about your experience, as this is a sure way to ruin any chance you had in the first place. And don’t sell yourself short – this letter is meant to boost your position, not lower you in the ranks! And always, always, remember to proof read! Spelling and grammatical errors are too easy to fix to get penalized for (and you will, if they’re that obvious).
You’ll want to make sure each cover letter is tailored for a specific job or company, so don’t get lazy once your start applying – each posting requires its own letter. Stay positive and remember, the more time and personalization you put into it, the more likely you’ll hear back!