Are you wondering how to write the perfect cover letter?
Are you wondering if you even need to include one with your resume?
So do you really need a cover letter with your resume?
Here’s something to think about. Most recruiters, hiring managers, and employers would agree that a cover letter is just as important as your resume or CV. In fact, they recommend spending just as much time on your cover letter as you would your resume or your CV. Here’s something else to consider.
Your cover letter becomes the most important at the very last minute when a hiring manager or an employer is trying to decide who to bring in for an interview. Most likely they’ll jump over to your cover letter to see if you will be one of the chosen few.
Before we jump into the five strategies to help you write the perfect cover letter, keep in mind that your cover letter can take on a few forms. One would be an attachment to an email. The second form would be some type of explanation inside of the body of an email and then the third form would be inside of an applicant tracking system.
Either way, follow these tips to write a perfect cover letter.
Customize your cover letter.
Start by addressing the person that you are sending the cover letter. This is called the salutation. This can be something like Dear Mr. John Doe or Hello Ms. Sally Smith. Do everything you can to find out who will be receiving your cover letter. This can be something as simple as a phone call to the company or some research on LinkedIn.
Do your best to avoid common phrases like “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” Customizing your
salutation shows the one receiving it that you took the extra time to find out who they were. Introduce yourself to the reader and state what position you are applying for. If you are referred by someone in the company or by someone that knows the hiring manager or employer, make sure you mention it right upfront.
Demonstrate that you are the solution to their problem.
Start by evaluating the job posting. What particular pain points can you solve. Explain how your skills and expertise are the solutions they’ve been looking for. To gain a greater insight into what the company’s pain points are, conduct some research on their website.
Follow their social media networks. Read articles the company has published. Read articles others have published about the company. Doing this will shed some light on how you are the solution to their problem. This is also the perfect time to mention why you want to work for the company. Why do you like them? What about the company or position stands out most to you. Talk about them and what makes them unique.
Show your personality.
Today more than ever it’s important to show your reader who you really are. If you really want to stand out from other candidates, include a story about yourself that relates to the position you are applying for. You could include a funny story. Humour is a great way to break the ice and captivate your audience. Just make sure your story highlights your skills and expertise.
The idea here is that you want to leave your reader wanting more. You want to grab their attention, captivate them, and want them to take interest in who you are as a person. There’s a famous saying “facts tell, stories sell”. Stories are a great way to show your personality and your character. However, you don’t want to go overboard. Keep your cover letter concise and to the point.
Don’t rehash your resume.
Think of your cover letter as a supplement to your resume. This is the perfect time to share more details about your most important accomplishments. Explain your skills and talents in action. Give clear and direct examples of your accomplishments and how they relate to the job you are applying for.
Structure your cover letter appropriately.
As I mentioned earlier, begin with a customized salutation, followed by a strong introduction that explains what position you are applying for and why you want to work for them. Get creative with your sentence structure. You only have a few seconds to engage your reader. Try using a statement that shows your passion and love for the company and the position.
Round it all off with a clear and concise conclusion that contains some type of call to action such as a reference to your resume, an invitation to interview, or even a good time to talk.
- Customize your cover letter.
- Demonstrate that you are the perfect solution to the problem
- Show your personality
- Don’t rehash your resume
- Structure your cover letter appropriately.
Follow these 5 steps properly and you will have a cover letter no recruiter will reject.