We often talk about the expert resume services we perform for our clients at GetInterviews. Although a well-written resume is vital in securing an interview, the job seeker will often find that a cover letter is just as important in the equation of job search success. What is a cover letter, you ask?
A cover letter is both an introduction to your resume AND a marketing document for you. It explains why you’re sending an employer your resume and more importantly, why you’re qualified for the position. It should help to showcase your strengths and help set you apart from your peers. A cover letter should be tailored to each position you apply for as well as address the requirements of the job.
You already know that a well-written resume is vital in the job search, but when coupled with a strong cover letter, you’ll be able to effectively prove that you’re ready for the position. All that’s left after that is the interview!
When writing an effective cover letter, make sure you keep these three concepts in mind:
Do your research
Before you apply to any job, you should learn as much as you can about the position, the employer and the industry. This can make all the difference. Not only will hiring managers be impressed by your knowledge, it shows them that you understand the company’s problems, and that you’re confident in being the solution to those problems. This will help you establish focus when creating your cover letter.
Grab the reviewer’s attention
As you already know, you’re facing heavy competition for the position you’re applying for. A hiring manager has to read each applicant’s cover letter and resume one by one. Don’t use the same boring introduction that most of your competition is using! It’s redundant; the reviewer has already read it, which can turn employers off before they’ve even gotten to the meat of your resume!
Write your cover letter with the intention of getting the employer excited about meeting you. Try grabbing the attention of the reader so that he/she is eager to learn about what it is that makes you the right fit for the position.
State the facts
The purpose of the cover letter is to sell your skills to an employer. The best way to do that is to state the facts. How can an employer trust that you can do what you say you can do? Include statistics and other factual evidence that will help the employer trust your credibility. If your cover letter doesn’t support the fact that you’re capable of doing the job, then your chances of getting the interview will heavily decrease.
Remember, the cover letter is more about what you can offer the company, rather than what you want from the company. Sell your skills by stating the facts.
These three cover letter aspects are all vital in crafting an effective cover letter. Still need help? Contact GetInterviews and we’ll help you create a winning cover letter that will assist you in securing the interview you want!
A greatcan make or break your chances of landing your dream job. While it may seem unfair to put so much stock in a single part of your application, you need to put yourself in the position of the employer. It’s likely they have several people applying for the same position, so the cover letter is your chance to make a favorable impression. If your letter is drab or full of simple errors, it sends the message that you don’t care enough about the job or the employer to do your best.
With that in mind, we have three qualities of a great cover letter that you should consider as you write yours.
1. A Great Cover Letter is Well-Written
Okay, this might seem obvious (and a little redundant), but it’s really that important, perhaps the most important aspect of your letter. You can disagree all you want, but if a cover letter has even a handful of errors, you will look either unintelligent, lazy, or both.
Seriously. If you can’t take the time to produce a cover letter that is error-free, why should your potential employer trust your work? You’ll be competing against applicants whose letters are perfect, so make yours perfect too. Don’t just read it a couple of times off the screen. Print it out, and read it aloud. Give it to a couple of (literate) friends to read as well. Don’t be too proud. Ask for help.
2. A Great Cover Letter is Direct
You may have the greatest anecdote in the world involving ice fishing, a polar bear, and an alien spaceship, but a cover letter isn’t the place to share it. Keep in mind that the person reading your letter will likely be reading dozens of these letters if not more. While your storytelling skills and beautiful prose may be solid assets, you need to save them for the right time. In your cover letter, you want to introduce yourself briefly and state succinctly why you’re a good fit for the job. Your prospective employer will be more impressed by your pith than your prose.
3. A Great Cover Letter is Personalized
If you want to make sure that you don’t get a job, go ahead and send a letter that begins “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” and provides a generic introduction to you and your particular skill set. Really, nothing screams “apathy” like simply copying and pasting a generic cover letter that demonstrates no awareness of a specific position or employer.
If you really want to show a prospective employer that you’re a right fit for the job, then you need to take the time to research the specific position appropriately. Show why you are a good fit for this job and not just any job. And you simply must address the letter to the person who will actually be reading it.
Hopefully, these tips will help you land your perfect job by writing a great cover letter. You do need to make sure, however, that your cover letter is properly formatted and grabs the reader’s attention, like in these examples. You also want to maximize your time.
An excellent resource is LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder. This online tool lets you focus on the important task of selling yourself while taking care of the formatting with hundreds of quality templates. If you have writer’s block, the Cover Letter Builder offers pre-written samples to get your creative juices flowing. With a free trial available, there’s nothing to lose.