Think of a cover letter as your chance to make a good first impression. Technically, cover letters aren’t as important as your resumes or your interviews. However, your cover letter does have the power to help you stand out from the rest. Since your cover letter holds a different weight than your resume, do not see it as a paragraph form of your resume. In other words, your cover letter should not be a regurgitation of your resume. If done well, your cover letter will help boost you above the other job-seekers and help set you up with deeper clarity than your peers.
Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter
- Begin by researching the values and the history of the company. Companies are looking for candidates who have more than the skills to get the job done. They are looking for people who are a good fit. Indeed, the most important thing you can study is the vision and mission of the place you are applying for. The more “bought in” to the company, the higher your chances are of securing an interview.
- Match your skill sets with the identity of the company/organization you are applying for. You want to convince yourself that you are a good fit before convincing your future employer.
- Remember, your cover letter should not be a cover essay. Cover letters should be short and concise. You want to jump to the point and make it worth reading right away. A good rule of thumb is to make a cover letter no longer than three to four paragraphs on one typed page.
- Do not explain why you are writing the letter. You can leave out things like introducing yourself and what position you are applying for. The people reading it already know and you’ll come off as young and inexperienced.
- Research your employer and the organization for which you are applying. The more your letter relates meaty material about yourself with bits of the history of the company you are applying for the better. By the time you get an interview, most employers are looking to see if the candidate would be a good fit for the organization.
- Focus more on what you can do for the company than what the company can do for you. Companies don’t want to feel like they are a stepping stone for you. They want to know that you are fully bought into their vision and who they are.
- Make sure you showcase your talents and skills. Too many of us are conditioned to caution around highlighting our skill sets. We don’t want to come off too boastful so we undermine ourselves when speaking to authority. However, confidence needs to be clearly portrayed in your cover letter so that the company can have confidence in whom they are hiring.
- Be bold and find holes in the company/organization you are applying for and express how you could bring that missing piece to the table.
Happy job hunting!