Because recruiters often receive hundreds of applications for one position, many of them skim cover letters instead of reading them in their entirety. This doesn't give you much time to make a good impression. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your cover letter more persuasive and appealing. Follow these tips to strengthen the first impression your cover letter makes on recruiters.
A visually appealing cover letter is more likely to make a good first impression than one with formatting errors. For best results, write your cover letter just like you would write any other professional letter. Left-justify all of the text instead of centering it on the page. Type your name and address at the top of the page, followed by the date. Then, insert an address block with the name and address of the employer. Limit each paragraph to three or four sentences to avoid overwhelming the recruiter with information. The body of the cover letter should have a line break between each paragraph.
Employers are looking for detail-oriented people who take pride in their work. Sending a cover letter that contains typos or grammatical errors calls your judgment into question, making recruiters wonder if they should give you a chance. Strengthen first impressions by proofreading your letter carefully before you send it. Do not rely on your spell-checker to catch all of your mistakes; if an incorrect word is spelled correctly, the spell-checker can't alert you about your mistake. If you aren't confident in your proofreading skills, have a career counselor or trusted family member review your cover letter.
Don't use a template to create your cover letter. It's easier to capture attention if your letter shows a little bit of your personality. If you aren't sure what to write in your cover letter, look at a template for ideas, but don't use the template to create your own letter. Although you need to inject some personality into your letter, don't tell potential employers about your family or your hobbies. Your letter should focus on your professional achievements and skills.
Recruiters often complain about receiving generic cover letters that provide little in the way of useful information. It's important to be enthusiastic, but most of your letter should provide information about your professional accomplishments. If you won a prestigious award or worked with a desirable client, mention it in your cover letter. The more information you provide, the easier it is for a recruiter to determine if you should come in for an interview.
In a competitive job market, you need to stand out from the crowd in some way. A well-written cover letter sets you apart from other applicants, improving your chances of being invited to participate in the next step of the hiring process. Make a good impression by customizing your cover letter, formatting it professionally and proofreading it carefully before you send it.
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