The goal of your cover letter, just like your resume, is to get an interview. In some cases, your cover letter is the only thing a potential employer sees. If it doesn't get the hiring manager's attention, your resume could go straight to the trash can. One way you can grab the attention of the person reading your letter is to show knowledge about the company. Here are some tips on doing just that.
Do Real Research
It doesn't require much effort to look at the company's website. The employer expects to see at least that much basic information in most of the cover letters. Make your letter stand out by researching a little deeper. Find news articles, press releases and biographies. These resources provide details beyond what is available on the website.
Choose Your Research Well
It may seem like common sense, but make sure you only use positive things when including research in your cover letter. Talk about charity events, achievements and good news. Also make sure you use current information. Try to limit your research to information from the most recent quarter or two.
Make a Personal Connection
Along with making sure you researched information is current and positive, try to find things you connect with on a personal level. Does the company work with a charity that you like? If so, mention that in your cover letter. Use the research to show the employer that you are a good fit for the company culture.
Don't Be Creepy
It's good to know a few things about the company, but don't take it to far. Don't use personal information about anyone from the company. For instance, don't mention where the hiring manager lives or where the CEO's kids go to school. Even if you feel that these things create a personal connection, it could make it seem like you are stalking people, and that is never a good thing.
Don't Overwhelm Your Cover Letter with Research
Your cover letter needs to be direct and succinct. CareerCast.com advises that too much research can work against you. The point of it is to make the hiring manager feel like you are a good fit for the company as well as the position, so focus on yourself and your achievements. Don't make the entire letter about your company research. You are not writing an essay about the company, you are writing a promotional piece about yourself.
When done well, including research in your cover letter is a great way to set yourself apart from other applicants. Get an interview by using the research to make a personal connection with the company and showing the hiring manager that you are a good fit.
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