Aside from an email or telephone call, the cover letter is the first professional document a potential employer sees when you are applying for a job. It is essential to construct a cover letter that will help you stand out amongst other candidates. To help you, here are some tips to follow:
Do Your Homework
Before you even put pen to paper, do your homework and learn all you can about the company. Re-read the job posting, visit their website, and search for articles about them online. In the process, you’ll find out about their needs, challenges, mission and vision, which you can then align your background with in your cover letter.
Write About What Makes You Different
Sure, you have all the basic skills and requirements to do the job. But what are the few key areas in which you stand out? For instance, do you speak another language, know a complicated and in-demand computer system inside and out, or have an impressive track record of career advancement? You need to spell out in your cover letter what makes you unique and therefore better than other candidates.
Even if you write a compelling cover letter, no one’s going to want to read it if it’s more than a page. So keep it brief. Include an intro paragraph, a couple of paragraphs about why the employer should consider you, and a closing paragraph.
Customize Your Letter for Each Opportunity
Don’t just write one letter for all the jobs you’re applying to and call it a day. Yes, you may be able to use much of the same letter for several jobs. But you should also customize the details – such as what makes you different – for each position you’re applying to so that your background is as relevant as possible. Hiring managers want those who are experts, not generalists.
Explain Any Gaps in Your Background
If you were unemployed or out of the workforce for a time, then explain that in your cover letter. If you don’t have a good reason, then you may get bumped out of the running for the job.
Format Your Letter Properly
- If you can, address your letter to a person, rather than “to whom it may concern.”
- State immediately in your intro paragraph the position you’re applying for, any job codes the posting asked you to reference, and a brief sentence as to why your background is a good fit.
- The body of your letter should contain the details as to why the hiring manager should interview you; in other words, how your background and credentials can benefit them.
- The close of your letter should include a call to action. It should either express your interest in an interview to talk more about your background, or state that you will follow up within a certain time period.
Need More Help Writing Cover Letters That Get Results?
If you do, let Peoplelink know. As a leading recruiting agency, we can help you craft a cover letter that gets noticed by a hiring manager, as well as connect you with job opportunities that are a great match for your skills and experience. Contact us today if you’d like to get started.