Tips to Create a Stand Out Cover Letter
In this digital era where recruitment can be done through digital means, many students wonder whether it is still necessary to know how to write an enticing cover letter.
The answer is….Yes!
It is unfortunate that, far too often, job or internship seekers treat cover letters as an afterthought to writing a resume/CV. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to write one at all.
A cover letter is the job seeker’s introduction to a company which can determine the success rate of the application. It is an opportunity to make a lasting impression on the prospective employer.
Nowadays, a cover letter, just like a resume, is not typically a hard copy letter mailed to the employer’s address. Job seekers will create their cover letter using the modern counterpart of a traditional mail, email. They will write their cover letter in the form of an email message or an online job application. Someone who takes the time and effort to do this will have an advantage over their competitors.
Here are tips for writing a cover letter that will convince hiring managers and HR professionals to interview you.
1. Don’t just copy your resume/CV
The first thing students need to know about writing a cover letter is…not to restate various details that have been stated in your resume/CV. Hiring managers will typically check both resume and cover letter to gain more information. As such, rehashing the same exact thing will give an impression of laziness that can reduce your chance of getting the job.
Check out this brief checklist of important functions of a cover letter:
- Draw attention to specific skills and experience that make you an ideal candidate.
- Mention other relevant skills not stated in your resume.
- Explain why you would love to have the job in question.
- Show you’ve done research on the company, its mission and key leadership.
2. Tailor your cover letter to a specific job
Don’t use a one-size-fits-all cover letter template for all the positions you apply for as nly a letter that’s targeted to the job at hand will make a positive impression. The cover letter you wrote must be one that employers can’t ignore. It can be done by tying/relating it to the elements of the job that match your unique skills and experience. It is important to note that you’re pitching yourself to the employer. The points to stress when writing a cover letter are what you’re really good at.
You can also gather facts and figures that support your claims. For example, if you’re applying for an administrative role, mention the size of teams and responsibilities you’ve previously managed. Beyond that, you can further personalize your cover letter by demonstrating your familiarity with the specific industry, employer and type of position.
3. Pride on past accomplishments
Companies want confident employees who’s comfortable and love their work. These types of people tend to perform better, stronger team players and have greater potential to grow along with the business compared to their normal counterparts.. It is not hubris for you to brag a little about your most pertinent achievements.
4. Make it brief
The barrage of information coming at all of us today has shortened our attention spans than ever before. Cover letters are no exception. Managers are often inundated with applications and they don’t have the time to read through pages of words, so economy of words matters. Keep your cover letter to no more than one page if printed (A4 paper).
5. Address the hiring manager personally
Just like when you personalize your resume to fit in with the job, you should also edit the cover letter to address the person actually hiring for the position (a.k.a. Hiring Manager). If you can’t find any info from the job posting, calling the employer’s main phone number and asking for the hiring manager’s name and title is also a good step. If you’re a student or fresh graduate, your university’s career services office may be able to help you identify the right contact at a company.
6. Use keywords from the job description
As of 2021, many companies use resume-filtering software that scans and pinpoints for keywords and evaluates how closely resumes and cover letters match the preferred skills and experience. As such, your cover letter should incorporate key phrases identified in the job description if they truly match with your background and strengths. Carefully review the job ad for all of the qualifications required (Type of degree, the number of years’ experience requested, specified software skills, organization and communication abilities.)
7. Proofread the cover letter!
Once you’re convinced that you’ve made a strong argument for your pitch, it’s time to proofread the cover letter. Typos signal carelessness to an employer. Even a single typographical error can have a detrimental effect on your chances of landing an interview. Just to make sure, ask a friend with strong grammar, punctuation and spelling skills to review it. Consider providing a copy of the job posting so your friend can make sure you’ve hit all the right points.
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