When applying for a new job, many applicants spend hours perfecting their resume, and spend much less time on their cover letter. However, writing a great cover letter is perhaps the most important part of the job search. Since it’s often the first document a potential employer will see when screening candidates, a cover letter is essential in differentiating yourself from other applicants.
Here are a few useful tips to make your cover letter stand out from the competition.
- Always Have a Cover Letter.
Many companies post open jobs through online portals either on their own site or on a career search engine. There’s normally a field to upload or paste your resume and a field for your cover letter. You’ll notice that on the majority of online applications the cover letter field is optional. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit a cover letter. It’s a test to see which applicants really want the job. If you post a strong cover letter, you will automatically have an advantage over the applicants that don’t.
- Address your Cover Letter to the Right Person.
Don’t begin your cover letter with “To Whom it May Concern”. If a specific contact isn’t listed in the job description, do your research to find out the name of the person hiring or conducting interviews. If you can’t find out exactly who you should be addressing it to, don’t address anyone. Skip the generic introduction and jump right into the body of the letter.
- Have a Strong Introduction.
The first sentence or two of your cover letter are the most important ones. You need to grab the reader’s attention. Skip the “I’m writing to express interest in…” and dive right into the body. Use key terms from the job description to grab attention and show you’re not just sending a generic letter. The reader will be able to tell if you’ve blasted your cover letter to multiple companies, and you’ll be less likely to get an interview. Create an interest in yourself and start explaining why the organization should select you for an interview.
- Don’t Repeat your Resume.
Your cover letter should not be a paragraph-form resume. A cover letter is an opportunity to show your personality, uniqueness, and interest in the job you’re applying for. It should entice the reader to view your resume. Add in neat things you’ve learned about the company or industry to show you’ve done your research and are excited about the job.
- Make Connections.
The point of a cover letter is to get an interview, not a job. Therefore, your cover letter should answer the question, “Why should I consider you?” Use the cover letter to help the reviewer make a connection between your experience on your resume and the job description they posted. The cover letter is essentially a sales pitch for your personal brand, so don’t be afraid to directly ask for the interview as you would ask for the business at the end of a pitch. Include your phone number, e-mail, and the best time you’re available to chat should they have any additional questions.
- Be Concise.
Remember, the person reading your cover letter is a busy professional with a lot of other work to do. They don’t have time or interest to read through a lengthy, multiple page letter. Keep it short. Write in short paragraphs made up of short sentences. Skip the fluff and get straight to the point.
Putting in a little extra effort and following these tips to create a professional cover letter, will make a great first impression and ensure your resume gets looked at. Still trying to find that perfect career opportunity? Let the recruiters at BOS Staffing help. With over 35 years of experience, we guide job seekers through every step of the hiring process and have access to the hidden job market. Contact us today and see how we make it easy to land the job you want.