Your cover letter will help you stand out at best, but at worst it makes even the best candidate look like someone who just cuts and pastes uncreative answers. Unfortunately the average cover letter is too often just a retread of your resume that just points out the obvious. If you were given something like that would you really want to read it? Chances are you wouldn’t, and neither would a hiring manager. Here are some cover letter tips to help you out.
1. Don’t Address The Reader
Chances are you have no idea who you need to address the cover letter to. So do away with the generic openings such as “To Whom it May Concern”. If you really don’t know who to address the letter to then address nobody and just jump into the letter.
2. Less is More
Keep your cover letter short. Write three paragraphs or half a page at most. Get to the good stuff and avoid exposition.
3. Avoid Repeating Your Resume
Many people write their cover letter like it was a resume written in paragraphs. Don’t forget that you will attach your cover letter to the resume so they are definitely going to read it and will likely scrutinise it more than they do the cover letter. That’s why the cover letter should be used to show off your personality and your interest and curiosity for working in the industry. It’s worth looking up the history of the company or field you’re applying in and include some of the best facts as part of the cover letter. They make an excellent lead. So if the job you apply for is in tech, you might want to talk about Moore’s law and how it transformed technology, and how you want to be part of that transformation. If you were to apply for a fashion job you might choose to talk about the changing trends in fashion. There is a history to everything and knowing it shows your interest and expertise.
4. Avoid This Sentence
Never ever include your name and what position are you are applying for as the opening sentence of the cover letter, such as: “My name is ___, and I am applying for the position as ____”. The hiring manager already knows all of this and it makes you look inexperienced.
5. Proper Formatting is Key
How the cover letter is formatted; from both the content you include and the way you present it, is all about perspective, and perspective is key. Even if you were to apply for a job online or through email you should always format the cover letter properly and make it readable with no typos. Need a cover letter template with all the formatting done for you? All of our resumes come with a matching cover letter.
6. Throw in Some Keywords
When writing a cover letter you should include keywords about your skills, recognition, and results. These keywords should also fit the job description and showcase your credentials. That way your cover letter is more effective at securing you an interview.
7. Send Your Cover Letter as a PDF
There are some office computers that can’t open .page files or .docx files, but just about everyone in an office can open up a PDF file with no conversion necessary. Having to convert the file is a fatal flaw because the hiring manager is unlikely to even bother and it can sometimes cause formatting errors; neither of which are very good.
I hope you enjoyed these cover letter tips. Share your cover letter tips in the comments below.