Cover letters can be a great way to get your foot in the door of a company. If done properly it allows you to convey the type of employee you are to potential employers. You can use your cover letter to summarize your resume, show samples of your work or to make a personal introduction if you have a specific person you are sending it to.
This article will cover 5 tips and things you can do with your cover letter to make it more effective for you. Take these tips and apply them to your specific situations; use your experiences to customize your strategy.
Keep it relevant and brief
Within max 4 sentences you should be able to include all the necessary information.
Make a list of the skills that make you a good candidate for the job. Also take note of any qualifications or specializations you have that make you stand out. When writing effective cover letters, planning and laying out all your skills is essential so you don’t sell yourself short.
Stay relevant to the position you’re applying for in your letter. Show how you would be able to excel and achieving the responsibilities for the position. Use words in your letter that show you are the type of person that takes action.
Send out custom letters for each company
Taking the time to send out custom letters to each company is well worth the effort. It shows the company you are the type of person that is willing to go the extra mile. Show them right off the bat that you are a self motivated and valuable employee.
In reality you don’t have to write every single letter from scratch; replace certain details so that your letter aligns with the position you are applying for. You should only be using templates that you can edit and save time. You should never send a letter to an employer.
Make sure the skills, personality traits and the way your letter is written is tailored to the company and position you are applying for. For example the tone of your letter should be completely different when applying to a pet store compared to applying to a bank.
Get the people reading your letter to refer back to your resume. Highlight skills relevant to the position you are applying for and supplement them with experience from your resume.
For example: “You can see on my resume that I have worked in both the USA and Canada in senior positions that highlight my leadership and management skills.”
By referring to your resume you are actively engaging your reader by getting them to do an action. This engages the reader’s brain and becomes a memorable experience. Make your letter memorable by getting the reader to engage with it.
On top of that, the more you can solidify what you’re saying the more impressive of a candidate you become. Refer to accomplishments and accolades, your resume or personal references in order to create a validated letter. By the time a person is done reading, at least 2 or 3 key things about you should stand out.
Show off your personality
Do this by choosing an appropriate tone for your letter. Find a tone ( serious, peppy, friendly ect) that best suits the position and company you are applying for. Always try to come across as friendly; write as if you genuinely want to help their team.
Do not use language outside of your normal vocabulary. It’s true you need to be professional and stay away from slang, however do not use a ton of adjectives just because “professional people” use them. Simply write how you would naturally speak and once your done review it and make changes so that it is appropriate to be read by a business.
Keep in mind to stay on topic and really only focus on this part if it makes you a more attractive employee. Don’t be afraid to write things then delete them later. Constant revisions are key if you want to write a solid letter.
You want people to read your letter in order contact you right? Make sure they have the means to!
Either include your contact info in the header/footer. Or end of your letter with your name and contact information.
Don’t be afraid to encourage people to contact you. Use words like “Please contact me at your convenience” or “Please give me a call” to entice people to contact you. Put it in their head that they should give you a call.
As said before make sure you decide what the goals are for this job hunting tool you’re creating. Decide if it is to get people to contact you or to convey the type of employee you are or to get people to read your resume. From there you can customize it’s components to suit your needs.
If you’re having trouble getting your letter to a specific person in a company there are a few things you can try. Always be very polite and courteous to the secretary. Remember their name and use it when addressing them.
If you’re unable to get your letter through in person or by calling and asking, try emailing the secretary personally. Explain very professional why you want to have the person you’re trying to reach read it. You can also try calling the company directly and asking to speak with the person you want directly.
By taking the time to craft a high quality, relevant and effective cover letter you are putting yourself ahead of lots of candidates. Use this guide to help you prepare and excel. Think in terms of pareto analysis. Focus on 20 percent of the most critical information which will have 80 percent impact.