Writing a cover letter can be just as daunting as writing your resume. It’s not just about listing your skills and experience; it’s also about making yourself seem like the right fit for the job. The best way to do this is by showing that you’ve done your research on the company and what they’re looking for, while also demonstrating why you want to work there in particular. A good cover letter will help you stand out from other applicants—and might even get your foot in the door!
Personalize your cover letter
A cover letter that works must be personalized.
The first step is to use the person’s name. If you don’t know their name, look it up. It will probably be on LinkedIn or the company’s website, where they may even have a picture of themselves with their title beside them (if not, no worries—you can still get away with using “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiter”).
Make sure to also use their title (e.g., “Dear Mr./Ms./Dr.”). Include their full name if possible; this gives you more credibility and shows that you’ve done your research!
Your cover letter is your introduction to the hiring manager, so you want to make sure it’s strong. Start with an opening sentence that shows who you are and why they should read on.
To do this, think about what makes you unique. What can you bring to their business? Why are you the right person for them?
You can also include a hook. A hook is something that will get the reader’s attention and make them want to read on. You can do this in a few ways, including using humor or offering an interesting fact.
Research the company
Researching the company is important because it will help you tailor your cover letter to their needs. The more you know about them, the more likely you’ll be able to write a convincing introduction that demonstrates how your skills and experience can benefit them.
Here’s some information you should look up: How do they create revenue? What is their mission? What are their values? How do they communicate with customers and employees? What’s their history, and how does it relate to what they’re doing today? Are there any major publications about the company? If so, make sure to include any relevant details in your cover letter (for example, if the company has been given a diversity award, mention how proud you would be to be part of that culture).
Make a connection between your skills and the job description.
The most important part of the cover letter is making a connection between your skills and the job description. Even if you have impressive experience, it’s not enough to simply list all of your accomplishments. Instead, use the job description as a guide for showing how you fit the role. Use words from the description in your own writing, but also make sure they’re substantiated with examples of how you’ve used those skills in previous roles or projects.
Here are some questions to ask yourself: Who else could do this job? Which qualifications would be useful? How might I be able to convince them that I’m right for this role?
Keep it short and simple.
Most cover letters are too long. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to explain everything about yourself in a single cover letter. You need to focus on the job at hand, why you’re interested in it and what makes you uniquely qualified for it. It’s not about your entire life story or how many places you’ve worked or even how long each one lasted; it’s about getting them excited about bringing on someone who can do this particular job better than anyone else they’ve interviewed (or will interview).
That may seem like a lot of pressure to put on one piece of writing—But here’s another secret: the shorter and simpler your cover letter, the more impactful it will be because there’s less noise around what matters most: the special value YOU bring to the company.
A cover letter is a great way for you to introduce yourself and show off your personality. It’s also a chance for you to explain any gaps in employment or other issues that might make hiring managers hesitate. Use this opportunity to communicate what makes you different from other applicants, and how they’ll benefit from hiring YOU specifically. Remember: you’re not going to impress anyone with an overused “I work hard!” cliché.
Above all make sure your cover letter is clear and concise. If you follow these tips you should be well on your way to success!
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