While many job seekers consider the resume to be the make-or-break document that determines whether you get an interview, the importance of the cover letter should not be minimized either. Think of the resume and cover letter as a package deal that helps persuade the hiring manager to meet with you face to face. If your cover letter could use some sprucing up, consider these seven quick tips.
1. Show a Bit of Personality
Your resume already lists your work experience, your educational background and the special awards you've collected. Don't repeat the same information in your cover letter. Rely on this document to set you apart from the competition. Tell a brief story about why you have a passion for the industry.
2. Tailor It to the Employer
Your cover letter should never be a generic document that gets thrown on top of every resume you send. Be sure to tweak every cover letter to fit the hiring organization's tone. Use a more serious voice if you address your letter to a professional accounting firm, for example, or play up your creative side when applying with a marketing agency.
3. Demonstrate Why You're the One
You rely on your cover letter to do the talking for you before you ever shake hands with a hiring manager. Give a few examples of your knowledge and experience to explain why you're the right candidate for the job.
4. Focus on the Hiring Organization
Don't make your cover letter all about you. Avoid "I" statements. Instead, focus on the unique skills you bring to the table, and demonstrate the value that you can add to the organization.
5. Pay Attention to the Length
Keep your cover letter on the shorter side, no longer than one page. Three to four paragraphs should be sufficient to make your case. Use the first paragraph to introduce yourself and tell why you're a perfect fit for the open position. In the next paragraph or two, present the facts, such as significant accomplishments or extraordinary skills that make you valuable to the potential employer. Use the final paragraph to wrap up your cover letter.
6. Incorporate a Call to Action
Show your assertive nature in the final paragraph. Use a call to action such as "I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the job opportunity" or "I am available next week for an interview."
7. Proofread and Edit
Never drop your cover letter and resume in the mail without looking over each document thoroughly. Read your cover letter aloud to yourself to make sure it flows well.
Creating a flawless resume can be time consuming, but don't allow the cover letter to be an afterthought just to get your application packet in the mail. Use these seven quick tips to make sure your cover letter is an up-to-snuff complement to your impeccable resume.
Photo courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net