Writing a great cover letter requires certain skills. The best cover letters are written in a very particular style, which you need to adopt if you want the chance to interview for your dream job. Here are six writing skills that can make your cover letter stand out from the crowd.
1. Keep It Fresh
Every time you apply for a job, you need to craft a new cover letter to support your application. Don't be tempted to cut corners by sending out a cover letter you wrote years ago, as it won't accurately reflect your current situation. Always tailor your letter to the advertised role to show the recruiter that you are the most suitable candidate. For example, if the job posting calls for someone who is a strong team player, then you need to highlight your ability to work well with others in your cover letter.
2. Do Your Research
If you can, find out the name of the hiring manager at the organization to which you are applying, and address your letter to that person. Make sure you spell the recruiter's name correctly, along with the name of the company. You should also spend some time looking at the company's website to find out what kind of tone is appropriate for your cover letter. A traditional company requires a very formal tone, whereas you can be slightly more conversational with a dynamic startup.
3. Use Drafts
No one can write a perfect cover letter on the first attempt. Rather than agonizing over writing the first word or sentence, write a quick draft of your letter, and then edit it to make it better. During editing, you should remove unnecessary information to make the letter concise and strongly focused on the key details.
4. Be Bold
Your cover letter needs to make an impression on the recruiter. Avoid overly long, rambling sentences and cliché buzzwords. Instead, get your point across by using short sentences that explain exactly what you have to offer. Write in active rather than passive voice.
5. Ask a Friend for Help
Do you have a friend who has great writing skills? Ask this talented individual to read through your first draft and suggest improvements to the style of your cover letter.
6. Print and Read
Before you send your cover letter, print it out and read it aloud to yourself. This helps you spot spelling errors, missing words and grammatical mistakes that could scupper your chances of getting an interview.
You only have a few lines to catch the attention of your hiring manager, so keep your cover letter short and to the point. Create a fresh letter for each new application, and avoid procrastination by aiming to finish your first draft and fixing it later on. Finally, make sure to get a second pair of eyes on the final version of your cover letter before sending it in.
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