Writing a cover letter is something many job seekers struggle with. Unlike the resume, a cover letter is written in a more conversational tone. It should describe some of your qualifications, skills and experience briefly. You should also state why you’d make a good fit for the position and your desire to work for the company.
Here are the top 6 cover letter tips.
We had to include this because so many job seekers hear bad advice on how no one reads cover letters anymore. The truth is that you don’t know whether your cover letter would be read or not or whether the hiring manager cares for one. You should be sending a cover letter for every position unless they specifically state that one isn’t needed.
Further, many hiring managers and recruiters do read cover letters. A cover letter can sometimes be the deciding factor to whether they will read your resume or invite you to an interview. The only way you can go wrong is sending a bad cover letter which in that case, you’d be better off not sending one at all. Put the time and effort into creating a cover letter that sells you and your resume.
You can check this good guide on how to write a cover letter with examples.
A common mistake is that job seekers don’t use compelling language which really captures the attention of the hiring manager. You need to use powerful action verbs to describe your achievements and experience. Don’t list out responsibilities from your previous position, show the employer how you exceeded what was expected of you. Here is an example of a powerful statement on a resume:
Implemented new marketing campaigns using paid social media advertising that resulted in a 83% return on ad spend.
You can see some more powerful action verbs to use on a cover letter and resume here.
This really work like magic, quantify your experience wherever possible. This makes your experience look more tangible and believable. It also really captures the attention of the hiring manager, people are attracted to numbers, use them! You can find ways to quantify your experience in every position.
A teacher can say how many children she handled throughout the year. A salesperson can say how much sales they’ve achieved - you can quantify pretty much anything.
Another common mistake is writing a cover letter that’s too long or one that’s too short. So how long should the cover letter be? Keep it to under a page - a half to two-thirds of a page long is just fine.
You never want to go the entire length of the page as no one wants to read that much and you don’t want a short cover letter that look like there was no effort put in.
Remember that the cover letter should be to the point and convince the hiring manager to look into your resume and credentials in more detail.
The information on the cover letter should be relevant to the position you’re targeting. If you’re going after an accounting job, discuss the aspects of your previous position that relate even if it wasn’t in accounting.
You should always be asking yourself “If I were in the reader's shoes, would I care?”
If the answer is no, then you’d be better off leaving it off your cover letter.
Don’t send the same cover letter to every position as the hiring manager is quick to spot it. They want to see that you took the time and effort into applying for the position. Always include the name of the company at least once in your cover letter and make the effort to find the hiring manager in charge to address them by name.
Sending a cover letter is still important contrary to a lot of bad advice out there. No one is going to throw your application away just because you included your cover letter. In fact, many still put a lot of emphasis and importance on the cover letter. You really should put the time and effort into writing a good cover letter and the results will follow.
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