Despite what you may have heard, cover letters have not gone the way of the dinosaur. Hiring Managers expect a cover letter, and some even consider it the most important part of your application. So how do you write an engaging cover letter that can enhance your chances of getting that interview? Some important tips include:
Craft It for the Job to Which You Are Applying
Sending a “one-size-fits-all” cover letter runs counter intuitive to its true purpose. The cover letter is your opportunity to emphasize skills, experience and accomplishments that prove you are the best match for a specific job. Each cover letter should be crafted with both the company and job in mind. Hiring Managers want to see that you are excited about the prospect of the job and not just simply looking to apply to everything you come across.
Present Yourself as the Candidate They Need
You can get a very good idea of the kind of candidate a company is looking for by simply reading the job ad. Your goal in both your cover letter and resume should be to present yourself as the candidate they need. The best way to do this in your cover letter is to match your skills and experience to what they list, focusing on what makes you a strong candidate. Create a list of requirements and skills, then match your background to each item. Next rank them so you can keep your cover letter short and on-point while highlighting the key ways in which you are an excellent candidate.
Cut the Fluff and Make Each Sentence Impactful
Realistically, Hiring Managers aren’t going to spend a lot of time reading your cover letter, so you need to make sure that what they do read makes an impact. Cut out “fluff” that describes your talents in vague generalities (i.e. describing yourself as a “team player”) and give numbers and other fact-based examples that back up your impact. Saying that you increased business by 32% will go a lot further than saying that you simply increased sales.
Have Someone Read It Before the Hiring Manager
Considering how close you are to the material, it can be tough to honestly judge the effectiveness of your cover letter. Having a friend or, better yet, a mentor, or someone in your network who is currently in the field you are pursuing, read through your cover letter will help give it the most impact. Not only can they take out unnecessary words and sentences to streamline it, but they can also give you honest feedback as to whether it best represents your strengths. Reviewing it with a Hiring Advisor, like the ones you can find at AppleOne, is a great idea as well.