Writing a great cover letter is one of the most important things to do when applying for jobs. Unfortunately, many applicants don't know what to put in a cover letter to attract positive attention from employers. You only have a few paragraphs to convince the hiring manager you deserve an interview, so you must be careful to avoid common cover letter mistakes. Get results by following these tips when writing cover letters to potential employers.
The first thing you need to do when writing a cover letter is research the prospective employer. If the job advertisement includes the name of the employer, go to the company website and read about the organization's products or services. Take a look at the company mission statement or values statement to see if you are a good fit for the organizational culture. If a third-party recruiting company advertised the position, contact the recruiter listed in the advertisement to discuss the particulars of the job.
When you write your cover letter, include information that shows you've read the entire job advertisement. Some applicants make the mistake of focusing on the first one or two criteria in the ad, so they end up applying for positions that really aren't a good fit for their skills or work experience. Once you read the ad, pick one or two of the criteria listed and discuss them in detail in your cover letter. If you have an in-demand skill that is not very common in your area, highlight this skill, especially if you don't meet some of the other desired qualifications.
Hiring managers receive hundreds of applications for some job openings. As a result, you need to be able to capture attention quickly. Don't submit a two-page cover letter or a letter that contains six or seven paragraphs. Many hiring managers judge your communication skills based on how persuasive you are in just a few paragraphs, so writing a short cover letter is a good way to show off your writing skills. Limit the letter to no more than four paragraphs, if possible.
Capture attention by writing a strong first paragraph that tells the prospective employer why you are interested in the job. Then, persuade the hiring manager you are a good candidate by talking about your skills and work experience. Close your cover letter with a call to action, which is a statement that asks the reader to do something, such as a request for an interview or a telephone call to find out more about the position.
Writing cover letters well is one of the best ways to distinguish yourself from other job applicants. If you are searching for an entry-level job or looking to change careers, take some time to learn the art of writing a persuasive cover letter. If your letter is convincing enough, the hiring manager is likely to schedule an interview to discuss your qualifications.
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