16 years of expertise writing resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and providing interview career coaching to help clients land the perfect position.

Using the Best Format for Your Cover Letter

cover letterThe format you use for your cover letter is important. You will want to make sure you are using the best format for your cover letter—one that is easy to read and fits you personally, since the cover letter is your way of introducing yourself. Prospective employers are looking for professionalism, but not imitation. If you use a standard form that is used by many people, they may take it as an indication that you are lazy, or look for shortcuts to get things done.

Be Specific

The cover letter that you write should be specific to the position you are applying for. It should contain some details about you, and this information 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 below, will give you an idea 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 hiring manager that you’re the best person for the job; 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 risk losing it for good. Make it clear right at the outset about which job you’re applying for and why you have the necessary expertise to fill the post. 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 hiring manager and address the letter directly to them.  Keep in mind the specifics of the job, and give concrete examples of how you’ve excelled in these areas. Find out as much as you can about the company to which you are applying, and demonstrate how you share their vision and ideals. A hiring manager 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 hiring manager your enthusiasm for the company and for the job. Talk about how satisfying and rewarding you find this type of work. Talk 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 the type of work you do.

• Tip 5: Show That You Are Creative:

Show your creativity. Managers are looking for someone who is 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 that 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 on 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 is in the hiring field, have them or an employment coach go over the letter with you.

Remember, your cover letter is the document a hiring manager will read, just before reading your resume. It is your chance to show them why they should read your resume, and consider hiring you for the position you are seeking.

What cover letter tips have you used to get a recruiter’s attention? Comment and share below! If you need additional help, be sure to reach out to Candace for assistance!

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