A great cover letter is the key to scoring an interview. One of the best ways to create a customized cover letter that will knock the socks off a hiring manager is to show that you not only meet the requirements of the position, but that you are also knowledgeable about the company and would fit seamlessly into its corporate culture.
The most important tip for crafting great cover letters is to customize them for each and every job for which you apply. Generic, cookie-cutter letters will never get you in the door. One extremely effective way to customize and impress the person reading your cover letter is to show knowledge of the company they represent. A great cover letter explains why this particular company is the right place for you. Learn as much as you can about the company, including its organizational structure and corporate culture.
Don’t limit your research to the company’s web site. Dig deeper to find out details that could give you an edge. Search for press releases and news articles about the company itself as well as its key products and lead management. Be sure to use accurate and timely information. Subtly weave this information into your cover letter. Do not simply rattle off information about the company; explain how you can meet the company’s needs based on what you know.
The culture of a company is also extremely important. A great cover letter identifies your strengths and also indirectly proves how you would fit in there. For example, if the company is known for charitable contributions or outreach, mention it if you connect with that. If the company has its own informal softball league, mention your love of team activities and what a spectacular third baseman you are. It will make your great cover letter stand out from the crowd.
Express your passion about the company. If you chose your major in college with the single-minded hope of working at this particular company, say so. If you have dreamed of working there since you were a child, bring it up. Keep it professional and be careful that you don’t go overboard, but feel free to point out your admiration for the company and desire to be a part of it.
Another way to prove that you know about the company is to find a specific person to whom to address your letter. Identify the hiring manager, staffing lead or head of Human Resources on LinkedIn. Addressing your cover letter to that person rather than generically “To whom it may concern” shows that you have done your homework and researched the company.
A great cover letter is the wedge that opens the door that first inch. Use it to make yourself memorable. Promote yourself directly by explaining what you have to offer as well as indirectly by proving that you understand the company and would be a worthwhile addition to the team.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles on FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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