Why is a well-written cover letter important? A good cover letter has the power to generate interest from the hiring manager or recruiter and make up for the areas where your resume may fall short. Whether or not it is required, it is a great tool to increase your shot a receiving an interview, especially if you do not meet all the qualifications. Conversely, however, a poorly constructed cover letter can derail any good traction your resume may have built.
It’s important to note that your cover letter should never be a copy, or even a reiteration, of your resume’s content. Many job seekers fall victim to going more in-depth on their work history because they are unsure what to include. Your cover letter does not need to be an extensive essay that appears as a sort of ‘last gasp’ at the job. If you choose that route, you will again find yourself repeating conversation points from your cover letter during a first-round interview. Instead, piece together a few brief paragraphs to highlight specific, relevant experience and showcase your knowledge of their industry’s latest trends and current standing.
Get To The Point
Clearly state your interest in the position and organization in your first sentence. Share relevant achievements to grab the reader’s attention, whether it is through statistics backing success in a previous role or by pinpointing your education. Stay curious and humble as you quickly elaborate on your application. While a two-page resume is often justified, there is no such theory for your cover letter. You should be able to effectively convey your qualifications and passion for the role in a few brief paragraphs. Most hiring managers will not be keen to see you ramble on paper with an overly contextualized message. The more irrelevant details you provide, the more chaotic you will appear. Stay focused and close strong with a call to action for your reader.
Atop your cover letter, you can quickly separate yourself from the traditional job seeker by specifically addressing the hiring manager or recruiter by name. More often than not, the job poster’s name will either be attached to the job posting or easily accessible online. Search the organization’s LinkedIn company page and filter through their employees to find the listed hiring manager (HR Manager, Talent Acquisition Manager, etc.). Don’t be afraid to let LinkedIn notify them that you reviewed their profile. Not only will this research show your interest in the role, but it will prepare key conversation points as you learn more about your interviewer’s work history. If you are unsure of the right individual to address, proceed with the generic salutation.
Tie in your work history to the job description and your passions and core values to the organization. Pay close attention to the top requirements for the role and address them in the body of your letter. Reveal how your skill-set and prior experience make you suitable for the position and an integral part of their team. However, you need to be cautious that you are not simply making edits to a universal cover letter. Most hiring managers will quickly notice that your letter was not initially depicted for their company and job listing.
*Bonus* If you know someone within the organization who would speak kindly of you, now is the time to name-drop.
Showcase Your Excitement For The Role
You can quickly build rapport with the reader when you appear enthusiastic about the role, but conveying this enthusiasm through words on a page is not always easy. Reveal a long-term commitment to excellence by revealing goals you have for your position with the company and how you plan to contribute to the company’s growth. If you can show that you prioritize the company’s success over individual success, you will confirm that seamless integration with their team is plausible.
Throughout your compelling message, don’t forget to communicate high levels of confidence, trustworthiness, and integrity. Show why you are different than the traditional job seeker and let your personality shine through. If you cannot garner a genuine enthusiasm for the role, more likely than not, this position is not right for you.
The last thing you want is the strong impression you’ve developed through your work history, education, company research, and passion for the industry to be thwarted by a lack of attention to detail. Don’t overlook the importance of double and triple-checking your letter for grammatical and spelling errors. Enlist the help of your friends, family, Grammarly, and conclude with your final readthrough.
After the long, strenuous process of constructing your cover letter, it can be difficult to muster the energy and patience to do one last proofread. You are excited to be finished with your masterpiece and eager to get your passion-filled application into the eyes of the employer. Still, even one misworded or confusing sentence could prove costly. Don’t give them any reason to toss your application aside, especially when it is one easily under your control.