Build a Better Cover Letter With These 5 Tips
Writing a cover letter isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. But unfortunately, it’s still a necessary part of the job search process. So, here are a few tips for helping you complete this chore in a way that will catch hiring managers’ attention and get you that call for an interview.
- Make no mistake.
Making mistakes, and learning from them, is a part of life. But, the only thing you’ll learn from the mistake you make in your cover letter is that you didn’t get the interview. A grammatical error sends a terrible message to future employers, and many will judge you for it, and then promptly discard your application.
“At best, spelling and grammar errors are signs of carelessness. At worst, they indicate inattention during education and/or a ‘who cares?’ attitude,” Michael B., the president of a sales/marketing consulting company, told Career Rocketeer. “Any of those can and perhaps should disqualify.”
- Personalize your cover letter.
Many job seekers develop templates to help them streamline their search process. That’s fine, but if you decide to create a cover letter template, you’ll want to make sure that you adapt it carefully to each position. Nothing is less persuasive than a form letter.
In this day and age, there is simply no excuse for a cover letter that begins by addressing the reader with “To Whom It May Concern.” Thanks to the internet, it’s just so darn easy to learn about the company and the hiring manager, which then allows you to address your cover letter to someone specific. Just as it’s good to personalize your cover letter for each job, it’s important to do the same with salutations. So, do your homework, and address your cover letter to someone other than “whom it may concern.”
- Begin and end strong.
You’ll cover a lot of ground in your cover letter, including your educational and professional background, why you’re interested in the position, and what unique skills and talents you can bring to the company. But, you want to be sure to grab their attention along the way, too. In order to do that, be sure to start your cover letter strong, and finish it the same way. The first and last two or three sentences set the tone, and the last lines drive your point home. Put the best bits at the beginning and at the end.
- Fit in.
You should always do your homework when preparing for a job interview. This means learning about the company, their mission statement, their goals, their culture, and anything else you can get your hands on. Now that you know your stuff, be sure to show the company you’d fit right in by demonstrating, via your cover letter, that your values, philosophies, practices, and even your tone, match the culture they’re proud of establishing. Also, be sure to articulate how you can help the organization get to the next level of success.
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