As a new college graduate, you may find writing the cover letter for your first job very difficult. However, a well-written cover letter can very well be the key factor that distinguishes you from other entry-level job seekers. Despite not having much work experience, it is still possible for you to impress your potential employers. A quality cover letter not only shows your potential employers that you value their employment opportunity, but it also demonstrates to them that you can communicate effectively. Here are some tips on how to carve out that impressive cover letter that will capture your potential employer’s attention.

1. Research the job:

Before you start writing, you have to know the job you are applying for inside out. From the job posting, you know what skills and education the employer is looking for. If you are not sure, do some research and find out what it takes to do well in that job.

On top of this, you will be expected to have an understanding of what exactly it is that the company does and how your skills fit in with that. As well as looking at the employers website, you may also be able to learn a bit more about an organisation and the staff working there from social media profiles, so it’s worth having a look.

2. Do a personal inventory:

Now that you know what the employer is looking for, do a personal inventory and list out all your skills, experiences, and personal qualities that are relevant to the requirements for the job. Ask yourself this question: why should the employer hire you for that? For each asset in your personal inventory, put together a phrase, elaborating on that particular asset and explaining why it sets you aside from other candidates. 

3. Reference the job position:

You should reference the job position or type of jobs for which you are applying in the first paragraph of your cover letter. You should show your enthusiasm and tell your potential employer that you are really interested in the job. When discussing your skills and experience, continue to relate back to the job position you are applying for and how those particular skills will benefit you in that role. 

4. Use the right format:

Employers receive countless numbers of applicants for a job posting, so they like to be able to scan through cover letters quickly to filter out the potential hires. Therefore it’s a good idea to make your cover letter scannable by using short paragraphs and a clear structure. 

Make sure you use keywords appropriate to the position, as you never know when a computer may be reading your cover letter, rather than a real person and it will detect relevant phrases. 

5. Show them what you’re made of:

Employers who hire new college graduates are usually looking for future leaders for their company. In your cover letter, tell your potential employers about any successful leadership role you have played before. In addition, highlight any award and recognition you have received in school or in other side projects, such as volunteer projects.

6. Make your closing strong:

In order to leave a lasting impressions in the reader’s mind, you want the closing paragraph of your cover letter to be one of the strongest elements. You should reiterate your interest in the job and your belief that you are the perfect match for the position. A little flattery doesn’t hurt either, so you may wish to mention the company’s outstanding reputation and express how much you would appreciate the opportunity to interview and why you would like to join the organisation. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Sophie Deering

You can follow Sophie at @SophieDeering.

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