One of the most challenging parts of job searching is writing an effective cover letter to compliment your resume. Here are some tips to help you!
A cover letter is considered as an introduction letter for companies and a way to elaborate or narrow down specific skills that pertain to the role you are applying for. Along with it being an introduction letter, you have the ability to “show off” your different experiences in order to attract the reader. As a candidate who is interested in a position, a cover letter is a step forward to show your dedication to the company. While your resume is an important document to show your qualities, experiences, and other skills, a cover letter is a way to make you a stronger candidate by giving you the ability to elaborate on your skills and experiences. In fact, Harvard Business Review suggests that not sending a cover letter is perceived as a sign of laziness by employers and is considered to be the same as making mistakes on your resume.
A strong introduction is the most important thing to have in a cover letter. Because the first paragraph of your cover letter is essentially the first impression that you make, your strong “hook” is what will catch the reader's attention. While writing your introduction, it is important to remember to be straightforward and mention the role you are applying for, why you are interested in the company, and what makes you a good fit for the role. Filling in the reader with background information about yourself transitions to show the reader that you are open to new challenges that pertain to the responsibilities that will be given to you. Here is an example of how to start your intro:
Dear Hiring Manager,
As a [Candidate Degree] at [School], I am excited to apply for your [Company] [Role] position. I believe the opportunity to participate in this unique program at [Company Name] would provide invaluable experience and help me attain my goal of a career in [Career Path].
Being able to elaborate on your different skill sets as a candidate can give you a higher chance of getting hired. While your resume lists the different experiences and skills that you may have, your cover letter is a way to “narrow down” your skill set based on the position you are applying for. Moreover, it gives you the chance to “sell yourself” in order to make you more appealing to your hiring manager. In an article written by Recruiter, grabbing the reader’s attention by “telling your story” along with pointing out how the company’s mission resonates with you will make your cover letter more personal and leave a lasting impression for the reader. It is important to remember that your cover letter is a way to branch out and talk about how your specific skills pertain to the role. Other than being able to distinguish yourself, using different adjectives or key words to talk about your skills can make you more appealing to managers. When identifying your skill set, you should address at least three skills you have to offer. This section can look like this:
Your skill: strong communication skills
Your qualifications/experience: I have strengthened essential communication skills in a retail setting including: Communicating with customers politely and professionally, addressing customer needs in a respectful manner, and checking in with co-workers to ensure operations are running smoothly.
Similar to your introduction, the ending statement is the final push that gives hiring managers a lasting impression. Ending your cover letter on a positive note and giving your contact information will guide hiring managers. While your cover letter is a good way to also show your writing skills, being confident about “showing off” can leave a lasting impression. To be a memorable candidate who is applying for this position make sure to give them all you got. Attaching your extra work, resume, or portfolio can give more insight to the reader and help them learn more about you as you end on a good note. For instance, you can say:
I have attached my [resume/portfolio] for your consideration and would be grateful to have the opportunity to talk more about [the role you are applying for]. My contact information is [email/phone number]. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.Sincerely,
• Be repetitive compared to your resume. Instead, point out the specific skills that pertain to the role and add anything that you haven’t mentioned on your resume
• Have any grammar or spelling mistakes. These small errors show that you rushed through the cover letter and didn’t take the time to proofread it. Career and Job Expert, Alison Doyle, gives us some proofreading tips for job seekers.
• Discuss any salary or payment expectations. Your cover letter should be used to express your passion and interest for the position. While it is important to know about the salary expectations of a job, talking about it in person with the hiring manager is much more respectable. Bringing up money on your cover letter not only indicates that you have no interest in the company but you are “in it for the money.”
• Address the job you are applying for. It is very easy to get carried away in introducing yourself and how you may be a perfect candidate. Therefore, don’t forget to talk about the position you are applying for.
• Keep it short and simple. On top of getting carried away writing your cover letter, make sure you are not repetitive, and wordy with your sentences. Conveying your ideas in a concise and simple form is important due to how many candidates are applying for the same position. Because recruiters and hiring managers don’t have much time to spend on all the cover letters, getting your message and being straightforward indicates that you value their time.
• Put your contact information. As a candidate who is interested in the position providing your contact information, it will create a lasting impression in hopes of getting hired for the position.
As a candidate who writes many cover letters for job applications, internships, or any other role that you are interested in, each one must stand out. Personalizing each one to the specific role and company is important in order to be considered as a potential candidate. Addressing a specific hiring manager, the company’s mission statement, and how you fulfill the responsibilities of the position will make you stand out amongst others. If you are having trouble finding who to address in your cover letter, start digging! According to Forbes, searching the company’s website or the department of the position you are applying for can help determine who to write the cover letter to. This strategy of researching can also increase your knowledge about the company and prepare you for the position.