If you really want the job you’ve been dreaming about, you’ll need to put forth a little more effort. Most employers expect to see a cover letter with every submitted resume. They are no longer optional. Even if they were, why would you pass up an opportunity to explain why you’re perfect for the job? This is your chance to showcase your personality and convince the employer to call you as opposed to any other applicant.
The last thing you want to do is lie on your resume or cover letter. Hiring managers want to hire you, not a representation of what you think they want. All lies will eventually come out. The cover letter is a chance to explain everything that won’t fit on your resume and present yourself as the perfect candidate. Now that you realize how important it is, here are some tips to boost the quality of your cover letter and get your dream job!
Address your letter to the right person
This may take a little research on your part, but if it’s at all possible, address your cover letter to a specific person. “To Whom It May Concern” is not only overused, but it shows a lack of effort. It’s especially embarrassing if you use this and the name of the manager is in the job ad. It shows you just don’t care. That’s not the impression you want to give.
Call the company and get the name of the person the application is going to. Taking this extra step will not only show that you are sincere about getting the job, but you respect the manager enough to find out his or her name. Doing your research also help avoid embarrassing mistakes such as addressing your letter to a Mr. Chris Smith, when Chris is actually a woman.
Put emphasis on what you can do for them — not what they can do for you
The cover letter is time for you to highlight your skills and what makes you the perfect candidate. The interview will be the time for more of an exchange and to convey your enthusiasm for the job. Right now, you’re trying to convince them of why they should call you in. If they get a feeling that you only want the job for superficial reasons (pay, prestige, etc.), they’ll think that you’re only trying to take. A good employee recognizes that to be successful, you have to give and take.
The hiring manager wants to see what you can bring to the company to help them grow and succeed. It’s fine to show a little enthusiasm in your cover letter, but spin it to how it will benefit the company. Think something like, “I’ve been following your company since it’s start up and I’ve love to bring my skills to the team.” Then give some suggestions on how you can do that.
Don’t just summarize your resume
The hiring manager already has a copy of your resume. Don’t use your cover letter to rewrite your job history in paragraph form. Elaborate on certain jobs and emphasize what skills you used and achievements you made there.
If you’re new to the employment field, use experiences from school. You can talk about how you’re always chosen to be the group leader in class and it gave you ample opportunity to develop management skills needed to bring to your future position. The cover letter is the place for you to talk about experiences that won’t fit on your resume.
Customize your letter for every position you apply for
Hiring managers can smell a stock letter from a mile away. Also, if you’re using the same letter and just changing small details such as the job title or the manager’s name, you’ll eventually slip up and send the wrong letter to a job. There’s no faster way to get your application in the trash.
Every new application should have a new cover letter. It’s work to rewrite your cover letter, but it’ll pay out. It shows the hiring manager that you’ve done your research and you desire the position you’re applying for. Include a specific fact that only pertains to the company you’re applying for such as “I enjoyed the post on your company blog about…It helped me to…”
Call to action
Now that you have some tips, take the time to research your dream job. Visit the company’s website and take some notes. Take key points from your resume and tell a story about them. Discuss your enthusiasm for the job, but put your emphasis on what you can bring to the company. It’s not hard to write a cover letter, just takes a little bit of thought!
About the author: Jim Raychrudhury is a passionate blogger and freelance writer, interested in careers and business.