Hiring managers often receive hundreds of applications for the same job opening. If you want to stand out, you need to write a cover letter that sells your skills and explains how hiring you would benefit the company. It's tough to get this information across in one page, but it's important to sell yourself without making your cover letter too long. Follow these cover letter tips when you are ready to start applying for jobs.
Many applicants make the mistake of putting the same information in their cover letters that they do in their resumes. Although you can talk about your most recent job in both documents, your cover letter should serve as a persuasive document rather than a list of your past job titles and duties. If you simply list your past jobs, the hiring manager probably won't take the time to figure out why those jobs have prepared you for a new role. Most recruiters spend about 60 seconds reviewing applications. If your cover letter isn't persuasive enough, you might not even get a chance to interview with the company.
Don't be afraid to promote yourself in your cover letter. While you might fear that communicating your accomplishments may come off as bragging, showing excessive modesty can be self-defeating and sink your only chance to impress the hiring manager. Be confident enough to explain why your skills are a perfect match for the advertised job. If your job history isn't an exact match for the opening, use your cover letter to explain how you can transfer skills from your previous jobs to the new position. Use concrete examples of past achievements to give your letter more of an impact. Instead of adding a bullet point that merely says "saved department money," say you "cut departmental expenses by 25 percent, saving a total of $7,500 in one year."
Use the job description to give the hiring manager a point-by-point explanation of how your skills would benefit the company if you were hired for the job. Take the same approach a salesperson would if he was trying to sell a product. Explain how you would save the company money, improve efficiency or solve problems using your knowledge and skills. Instead of focusing on features, such as your college degree, focus on the benefits the employer would realize by hiring you.
The final draft of your cover letter should tell a story. It should also answer the question of "what's in it for us?" Employers want to know how you can help them make more money, so don't try to negotiate a higher salary or ask for comprehensive benefits in your cover letter. Keep the focus on the employer. If you are given a job offer, then you can negotiate your compensation and benefits package.
Writing a good cover letter seems tough at first, but it gets easier with practice. If you are currently searching for a job, use these cover letter tips to craft a letter that convinces hiring managers to move you to the next step of the hiring process.
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