The cover letter is a crucial part of your job application; it gives you the chance to introduce yourself and make a lasting impression on the hiring manager. In some cases, the letter is the only thing that sets you apart from equally qualified candidates. By investing the time to write a concise and snappy letter, you can increase your chances of securing an interview.
A cover letter is often the only introduction you have to a potential employer, so it is important to use the text to showcase your personality. Open the letter with a short and memorable story that explains why you went into the industry, or offer a charming anecdote that explains your interest in the company. This strategy creates an immediate personal connection with the reader and helps your letter stand out from the masses. Alternatively, choose words that show off your personality, whether it's quirky, highly articulate or creative.
Enthusiasm is always appropriate in an application, whether you're applying for an entry-level job or an executive position. Help your cover letter stand out by expressing your genuine interest in the job. Stay away from generalities, and offer specific, memorable details. Rather than writing that you love working in sales, explain how your natural curiosity and theater background combine to make you an effective and entertaining salesperson. Don't go overboard, and be realistic to avoid sounding disingenuous.
Show Off Your Soft Skills
The cover letter is an ideal place to show off your soft skills — the skills that are difficult to quantify on your resume. Choose two or three skills that are essential to the job, and pick a project or professional anecdote that showcases your abilities. Keep in mind that when it comes to demonstrating your skills, a story is more effective than a claim. Instead of explaining that your excellent communication skills make you a great project leader, for example, talk about how you managed a tough project with a diverse team and a demanding client. Select instances that support or enhance the examples you provide in your resume.
Avoid Boilerplate Text
Cover letter templates are widely available online, and many of them have well-written text. Unfortunately, chances are good that many other candidates referenced the same templates. Nothing bores a reviewer faster than a letter that sounds exactly like the past 20 letters. Before you send out your letter, compare it to samples you find online. Replace identical phrases with original language, and ensure that your text sounds unique.
Writing a cover letter can be a challenging and time-consuming process, but the end result is worth the extra effort. By spending the time to write an excellent letter, you can craft a more persuasive and effective job application.
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