8 Things You Need to Know When Writing a Cover Letter

8 Things You Need to Know When Writing a Cover Letter

Writing a good cover letter is an art that many people do incorrectly. Not only will a dynamic cover letter set you apart, but it can put you on the shortlist to getting an in-person interview. Some hiring managers actually place more value on the cover letter than the actual resume itself. Read through our tips for writing the perfect cover letter, and you will be well on your way to landing your dream job.

1. Write a Customized Cover Letter for Each Position You Are Applying For

Whatever you do, don’t write one generic cover letter and simply swap out the names of the companies you are applying to. Companies generally can tell when you do this, and it isn’t a good first impression. Take the time to write a tailored cover letter and personalize it as much as you can.

2. Send Your Cover Letter and Resume to the Appropriate Contact Person

Take the time to find out who the hiring manager or HR person is, and make sure that your cover letter and resume are directed to them. This increases the chances that your letter will get read instead of just addressing your letter to “whom it may concern” or sending it to a general email address.

This also will allow you to further personalize your cover letter to the individual who will be reading it. It can give you the upper hand if you find out who you will be writing to and take the time to learn a little more about them.

3. Make Sure Your Cover Letter is Different From Your Resume

Your cover letter shouldn’t be a shorter version of your resume. Your cover letter should sell you and why you would be a great asset to the company you are applying to. Choose three of your best qualities or skills and focus on them, showing how they will benefit the company and position. 

4. Include Data and Specific Examples

Don’t just say that you are good at something. Provide specific examples and when possible, data, to back up your claims. Saying that you are a good salesperson and consistently met your sales goal is great, but saying that you exceeded your sales goal for 5 quarters in a row is even better. Providing specific examples is what will set your cover letter apart from your resume.

5. Don’t Bring Attention to Things You Are Lacking

If the position you are applying for asks that you have a specific degree or skill that you don’t have, don’t bring it up. Instead, focus on the things you do have that would make you a great fit for the job. Bringing attention to the fact that you don’t have a specific thing they are looking for will only make that the center of attention.

6. Show Some Personality

Hiring managers sometimes receive hundreds of resumes for any given posted position. The trick is showing some personality to make yourself stand out. You need to be professional, yet be yourself at the same time. Don’t feel like you have to use incredibly formal language, but make sure that the language you do use isn’t too informal and doesn’t include slang. Focus on what makes you perfect for the job, and you should be a shoo-in for an interview.

7. Use Templates and Examples

Using a template or example of a professional cover letter will make sure that your own cover letter is formatted properly. It will also show you the kind of information to include. However, make sure that you are not just copying the example word for word. Use the template or example letter as a guide of what your letter should look like and then write your own unique cover letter highlighting why you would be a perfect fit for the job you are applying for. 

8. Proofread and Follow Instructions

First, proofread your cover letter thoroughly to make sure that you don’t have any spelling or grammatical errors. Nothing can make your resume go to the reject pile faster than having a glaring spelling mistake in the first paragraph of your cover letter. Make sure to include how the hiring manager can get in touch with you to schedule an interview.

Also, make sure that you follow the instructions for submitting your cover letter and resume. These will usually be listed in the job posting. If they request that you submit your cover letter and resume as an attachment of an email, don’t copy and paste them into the body of the message. Sometimes there will be an online portal the hiring manager wants you to use instead of emailing them, so make sure that you are doing what the company wants you to do when applying.

Your cover letter is the first thing that the company will see from you, so make sure that it makes you stand out from the crowd. Highlight your strengths and what you will bring to the table, and you will be well on your way to a new job.

Posted by Michelle Gilbert at 2:55 PM
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