For many people, writing a cover letter is even more nerve-wracking than creating a resume. While a resume states what you did, a cover letter explains who you are. Fortunately, there are some tricks for composing a cover letter that truly speaks for itself. Here are 8 tips you should know.
Customize Every Letter
Though it can be time-consuming, it’s crucial to customize each cover letter to the company and position. There’s nothing wrong with recycling some sentences or even using a template, but your cover letter should look like it’s intended for the specific recipient. Be sure to use the hiring manager’s name and the specific job title, and to show how your background fits with that position at that organization.
Don’t Bury the Lede
In journalism, the lede is the most important element in the story. “Burying the lede” means starting with unimportant details and only getting to the lede later on. Take a lesson from journalism and start your letter with a snazzy opening sentence that shows your passion or accomplishments.
Bring Your Resume to Life
Your resume is basically a collection of facts. Your cover letter is your opportunity to bring those facts to life. Show how the experiences on your resume make you an excellent candidate for the new position. Tell a very brief story of your background, working in the accomplishments from your resume.
Highlight Your Experiences and Skills
The most important job requirements are typically those listed first in the description. Structure your cover letter to feature how you can meet or exceed those expectations. If you don’t have direct experience in the advertised role, showcase the skills you have that can meet the challenge.
Use Some Stats
You don’t have to fill your cover letter with numbers, but adding a few statistics can help the hiring manager see your impact. Talk about how many new clients you brought in or how your ideas improved workflow efficiency by 25%.
Be Conversational and Confident
Writing too formally can make you seem aloof or even insincere. Use a conversational, authentic tone that makes you come across as an approachable person. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. This is the time to sing your praises, as long as you do it sincerely and earnestly.
Keep it Short
Your cover letter should be brief, filling just half a page to a page. Cut it down to the most relevant points and look for ways to use simpler, shorter sentences.
Seal the Deal
Your last paragraph is your chance to close the sale. Feel free to add important tidbits such as your willingness to relocate or simply emphasize your enthusiasm and your “fit” for the position. Stay away from throwaway language like, “I hope to hear from you.”