Most job seekers consider writing a cover letter a chore and, therefore, make it a regurgitated rendition of their resume. Most hiring managers only have time to skim through stacks of resumes and cover letters, so by putting together a bold, well-written, attention-grabbing cover letter, you increase the chances of getting selected for an interview. Here are a few ways to put together an amazing cover letter.
An amazing cover letter grabs the reader's attention from the very first sentence. Far too often, candidates use a boring, cookie-cutter introduction, such as, "I would like to be considered for the position of..." Not only is this introduction bland, but it's also redundant and unnecessary. The very existence of this cover letter implies that you're interested in applying for the position, so starting off in this way makes you look like an amateur. Instead, start with a bold statement, pitch or statistic to entice the reader into going further. Adept at sales? Start by stating how you increased a company's sales by 3 percent last year. Are you a natural at customer service? Begin your letter with a compelling statistic about how important customer service is to the success of a company. No matter what tactic you use, the point is to grab readers right away so they are compelled to learn more about you.
Once you get into the body of your cover letter, avoid repeating the same information from your resume. It's a rookie mistake that too many job seekers make. Your cover letter is your opportunity to expand upon your resume details, to show your personality and enthusiasm, and to mention experiences or achievements that didn't make it onto the resume. You also want to use this section to marry your own skills and achievements with the company's job description. If it is looking for a manager with leadership skills, mention situations in which you had to lead a team or solve a problem on your own. Your goal is to paint yourself as the ideal candidate.
Customize your letter to the company's culture and values. One of the most common and detrimental mistakes candidates make is to submit a one-size-fits-all cover letter for every job they apply for. That's a sure way to get your cover letter ignored. You want to appear informed and passionate about that particular company and its mission, so you must know who it really is prior to applying. Check out its website, blog and social media pages to get a sense of the company's culture. If the company is an easygoing tech start-up, don't be afraid to inject a little humor and wittiness into your cover letter. If you're applying to a distinguished Fortune 500 corporation, polish things up a bit, and keep your tone formal and straightforward.
Writing a compelling cover letter can seem like a daunting task, but in today's competitive job market, it is essential to help you stand out in a sea of qualified candidates. Take advantage of the fact that most of your competition will be putting more emphasis on their resumes, and craft an attention-grabbing cover letter that catches the reader's eye. A strong cover letter can be the one key that gets you in the door.
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