The cover letter has been recognized as a game changer in the job search. The time and attention you give to making your cover letter specific to the job you apply for could mean getting the interview and the job over someone who has a generic cover letter or no cover letter at all.
Before an interviewer ever looks at your resume they will take a peek at your cover letter. This document is meant to be one page or less and a quick insight to who you are and why you are a good fit for the company and the job to which you apply.
There is a straightforward template that is described below.
It is important for you to have an easy, unique identifier that you can use for every cover letter. This should include your name, address, email, and phone number. You could also use your LinkedIn profile link or a link to your portfolio. Next comes the date. Lastly, in this section it is important to acknowledge what position you’re applying for or who is going to receive your letter. Two examples of openings could be “RE title of prospective position” or “Dear specific person writing to.”
This section has more involvement than just restating your resume. What are some different ways you can provide basic details about yourself? Make sure you are able to clearly define what you are able to deliver to the company. What is your connection to the company? It is better if you are able to make a personal connection with the company. This is accomplished through an attention grabber. This will be the first sentence in this paragraph. Five different approaches you can take include starting with the job title and accomplishments, excitement about the company, keywords (and more keywords), network ties, and current events about the company. Make sure you tie this paragraph back to the position for which you are applying.
After you open with an attention getter and a succinct introduction of yourself, define relevant skills that will pertain to the position you are applying for and connect to the company you want to become a part of. To have this paragraph stand out, you could create a bulleted list of each skill with its explanation.
To bring the skills section together, bring forward details about the experiences that you have prior to applying for this position. What did you learn? What experiences separate you from other applicants? Make sure your experiences are relevant to the position and use numbers to tell your story if you can.
By talking about your experiences, you open the door for the hiring manager to understand your background. In this last paragraph you will need to come full circle and bring it back to the attention getter. This will spur the hiring manager to think through your cover letter again. Thank the hiring manager for taking the time to read your cover letter. If they got this far in the cover letter, it is a good bet that they will make it to your resume. This brings you one step closer to an interview, and ultimately the job!
After you have written your cover letter, have a peer look it over for any possible changes. It is important to stay positive throughout the cover letter. For example, do not apologize for skills that you don’t have. Describe and give examples of skills that you do have that support why you should get the job. Keeping all of these suggestions in mind, make sure you stay honest to yourself so the hiring manager can see your personality and do your best to have fun! Write like you have already clutched the interview.
If you have any questions or would like any personalized suggestions, feel free to contact Shannon Talent through our website.