Cover letters need an effective format. Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a senior management position, entry level position, or somewhere in between, you need to choose a format that’s easy to read and fits your personality. The cover letter should complement your resume, it’s your way of introducing yourself to employers in your absence. Companies are looking for professionalism, not imitation. If you use a standard form that is used by many people, they may take it as an indication that you’re lazy, or look for shortcuts.
The cover letter that you write should be specific to the position you are applying for. It should contain some details about you, and should be current and fresh. It’s highly unlikely that any of these criteria will be met by a secondhand format that you downloaded from the internet.
There are several different formats you can use. These will give you an idea of where to start:
• Tip 1: Your Cover Letter Is Your Introduction
Your cover letter needs to say more than “here is my resume”. It’s your chance to convince the employer that you’re the best person for the job, so sell yourself. Introduce yourself. Tell them a little about why you want to work for their company.
• Tip 2: Your Cover Letter Needs to Get Their Attention
Grab the attention of the reader immediately or you risk losing it for good. Make it clear right at the beginning which job you’re applying for and why you’re the best candidate. Talk about your experience, achievements and skills, but keep it short and to the point.
• Tip 3: Research the Company So You Know What to Talk About
Do your research. Find out the name of the employer and address the letter directly to them. Keep in mind the specifics of the position and give concrete examples of how you’ve excelled in these areas. Find out as much as you can about the company and demonstrate how you share their vision and ideals. An employer is more likely to want to meet you in person if they feel some kind of connection through your letter. Show that you understand the vision of the company and explain how you can contribute.
• Tip 4: Be Passionate About Your Work and Expertise
Be passionate, it’s infectious. Communicate to the employer your enthusiasm for the company and the job. Talk about how satisfying and rewarding you find this type of work—about how you love a challenge. Talk about being driven to succeed, but whatever you choose to say, say it with passion, the passion you really feel about your line of work.
• Tip 5: Show that You Are Creative
Show your creativity. Employers are looking for someone who’s innovative and can solve problems and approach things in a new and creative way. Give examples of some innovative projects that you’ve been involved in.
• Tip 6: Check and Recheck It
This one might sound a little strange, but if time allows, finish writing your cover letter and put it away; don’t read it for a day or two. Then take it back out and read it with fresh eyes. You may read it over and think it’s pretty good, but there may be one or two parts which could be improved upon. However, if you read it and think, “Good grief, what was I talking about?” throw it away and start all over again. You may also want someone else to proofread it for you. If you know someone who’s in the hiring field, have them or an employment coach go over the letter with you.
Remember, your cover letter is the document an employer will read just before reading your resume. It’s your chance to show them why they should read your resume, and consider hiring you for the position.
Need additional help? Reach out to Candace for assistance!
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles /FreeDigitalPhotos.Net