When it comes to job hunting, the resume carries the heaviest load, but the cover letter also has an important role to play. With its longer paragraphs and relatively free formatting, it gives you a chance to show off your personality. As you find ways to humanize your letter, be careful to walk the balance between personality and professionalism.
When an employer reads your cover letter, he wants you to convince him you are a good fit for the company in terms of qualifications and personality traits. After all, everyone in the business must work with you, day in and day out. To demonstrate personality and show that you are a good cultural fit, tell a story that illustrates who you are. You might explain that you have loved the company since you used its products as a child, or talk about a plant tour you took in college. Whatever anecdote you choose should help the reviewer understand more about you. Avoid losing focus on the overall purpose of the letter; keep your stories simple and brief and move on quickly to explain why you are a good fit for the position.
During the hiring process, your cover letter may be one of hundreds or thousands. To stand out, FlexJobs recommends that you use your cover letter to show the reviewers something they are not expecting. Reach back into your personal history to find an example that shows how you bring a unique combination of skill and experience to the job. This is an excellent opportunity to use information that is not on your resume, such as volunteer work or non-work involvement. If you managed teams of workers for Habitat for Humanity, demonstrate your personal commitment to service and your ability to direct teams. As an added benefit, you give reviewers a glimpse into who you are, which can make you a more memorable candidate.
As you are writing a cover letter, it can be tempting to slip into overly formal language in an effort to be professional. In doing so, you run the risk of making the reader's eyes glaze over with boredom. Instead, use your language to demonstrate personality. Use simple, natural language that sounds like a refined version of how you speak. Do not be afraid to use jargon in your cover letter if you can do it naturally. If you are confident in your abilities, use light humor to get the attention of the recruiter; tread carefully to stay on the safe side of professionalism.
A small amount of personality can make your cover letter into a representation of who you are as a person and a professional. In the process, you can make your application shine in comparison to the applications of other candidates.
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