Spending time writing a targeted cover letter increases the chance your letter gets read. The cover letter delivers your first impression in the job search; it makes sense to put in the effort to do it well. Follow these tips to make your letter stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Write a different targeted cover letter every time you submit a resume. If you send the same letter with every job application, not only do you look lazy, but your letter is more likely to blend in with all the others. Remember to read the job posting carefully, and follow the instructions exactly.
First, address your letter to a real person. A recent article in US News and World Reports states that writing a cover letter to an anonymous person seems not only outdated, but gives the impression you don’t care enough to put in the extra effort. Find out who does the hiring, and write a targeted cover letter specifically to that person. If the job posting includes a contact, use that. If not, explore LinkedIn or a search engine for the job title and department. Check for the name of the hiring manager. If your search comes up empty, simply call the business and ask for the name of the person in charge of hiring. No matter how you get your information, double check for spelling.
Your first sentence should grab the reader’s attention. Poor cover letters begin by stating the obvious. For example, “enclosed you will find my resume” or “I would like to apply for the job of project manager.” A targeted cover letter begins with something relevant to the particular job. Begin with a quote from a performance review or satisfied client that highlights pertinent skills. Start with describing how a particular skill you have relates to the job. Even mentioning the name of an employee of the firm can get the reviewer’s attention.
Next, state exactly why you want to work for this business. Research the company. Look at press releases and learn about some of its projects. Your targeted cover letter should explain why you would be a good fit. Try telling an engaging story to personalize your letter. A heartfelt statement about why your job search led to this particular company might make a memorable story. Just make it short and to the point.
The main body of your targeted cover letter should include a paragraph matching your skills to the job description. Focus on specifics, explaining your unique traits related to the job. Illustrate your strong points as they relate to the key job requirements as listed in the job description. Including something unexpected helps keep the reader engaged. Avoid obvious mistakes when writing your cover letter.
Always make a final check for slip-ups. Then, add a brief closing paragraph thanking the readers for their time and stating your follow-up steps.
By following these simple tips for writing a targeted cover letter, you can accomplish the difficult task of actually getting your cover letter read, and you will be one step closer to finding the perfect job
Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net