Hiring managers sift through hundreds or thousands of application materials. Your job search should focus on crafting a cover letter that stands out and guarantees you an interview. Identify your strengths, seek out strategies to appeal to potential employers, and confidently display your skills and experience.
Job seekers commonly dread writing a cover letter because they view the document as less important compared to the resume, explains Peggy McKee with Careerealism. However, an introductory letter is often what makes you stand out from other candidates. Take the time to craft a letter that is engaging, interesting and professional, and resist the temptation to use a form letter for all positions.
Customize your cover letter based on your findings. Research the company's mission and goals, products and services, and company culture to obtain fuel for your letter. Reference how your career goals are in line with the company's goals, and identify personality and professional traits of yours that match the company's culture.
Compare your skills and qualifications to the desired traits listed in the job description. Use keywords from the job description to capture the interest of the hiring manager. Potential employers are often more engaged and interested in contacting you for an interview when you have outlined that you have the desired qualifications for the position.
Understand that the job search is a sales process, explains McKee. Your cover letter is not about you; it is more about what you can do for the company. Highlight professional accomplishments within your letter, show how you can impact productivity and profitability, and sell your skills persuasively and confidently when writing. Detail how you have worked successfully with teams, satisfied clients, achieved sales goals and improved processes in past positions. Relate your experience to the needs and goals of the company. Job candidates who can successfully outline that they are the ideal fit are often put at the top of the list for an interview or call back.
Pay close attention to proofreading and formatting when writing your cover letter. Application materials that possess grammatical and punctuation errors, or formats that are difficult to read are often tossed in the trash. Keep your resume and accompanying documents at the top of the pile by eliminating any errors, using a font that is readable and formatting your letter professionally with a formal salutation. Include links to sample work or an online portfolio, and ensure body paragraphs are focused on your skills, experience and accomplishments.
Tap into your professional network to identify what the hiring manager is seeking before writing your cover letter. Inside information from professionals associated with the company can provide you with the fuel you need to impress potential employers when preparing application materials.
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