In a point-and-click world, pressing the “apply” button on a job site can make submitting your resume to multiple companies fast and easy. But in such haste, many forget to include a cover letter and miss a vital opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition.
While writing numerous cover letters to individual companies can be tedious, taking the time to tailor each to best represent the qualities about yourself that don’t come through in résumés and aligning your accomplishments and attributes with the goals of the company can make a strong impact. Successful cover letters allow hiring managers to select between candidates with similar qualifications and guide them toward a decision.
Here’s some tips compiled by the experts at the employment website LiveCareer.com on creating a winning cover letter.
Take the time to write a cover letter that speaks to the job description advertised. It’s not necessary to start from scratch each time, but casting your history and achievements against the requirements of the position paints you in the best possible light.
Don’t make the mistake of submitting cover letters with rote information that obviously been transferred from another letter. Take extra care to ensure your letter is grammatically correct and contains no typos. Hiring managers routinely discards such letters.
The best thing about cover letters is that they can explain things your résumé cannot, such as employment gaps and re-entering the job market. A well-crafted cover letter can ease a hiring manager’s mind over these concerns and help you amplify your enthusiasm and experience.
Make an attempt to find out who might be receiving your cover letter. Even in a world in which automated software sorts through résumés submitted online, those who advance and are accompanied by a cover letter gets more attention. So don’t use generic salutations — do some research and address it to a specific individual, if possible.
In the body of your letter, make a strong case for your candidacy and follow through with highly relevant details that address the needs of the company. Pepper your pitch with appropriate highlights from your previous employment, illustrated by how you can exceed their expectations. Relating yourself to the position and mission of the company is also a valuable expression.
It shouldn’t need to be said, but it happens: Some people tend to insert negative information in a cover letter, usually in an attempt to cover-up previous employment history. But don’t give a company information they don’t ask for or supply them with reason to discard your application before you can get to an interview.
Wrapping up, end your letter on a positive note and express that you’re looking forward to an interview.
When you’re done, proofread! Read your letter carefully and out loud to help you identify errors or misspellings. If possible, enlist a friend to read it over before sending it out.
Also, resist gimmicks such as elaborate fonts, photos or emojis and colored paper (even if you’re not mailing a letter). You’ll be glad you did.