Are you searching for a job?
Or maybe just curious about the cover letter and what makes it so special?
Well, you have come to the right place because we are sharing why you need one and what employers are looking for in yours.
To start, your cover letter and your résumé, are the two most important pieces of paper you will ever own. They represent you as a professional and are often times your only chance to make an impression so they must be accurate, precise and memorable.
Words have never meant so much. In fact, there are résumé writing companies that employ professional writers to transform your current résumé into a masterpiece without ever having met you.
How do they do that, you ask?
Well, first, they are professionals in their field and understand the power of words. Second, there are certain things that you must have in your résumé and cover letter to even be considered let alone stand out.
We know what those things are. This post focuses on the cover letter. If you are interested in updating your résumé, click here for résumé writing tips.
Oh, and while you are updating your professional documents, don’t forget about your professional presence online with LinkedIn. We have written a tutorial on that as well. Improve your LinkedIn profile by clicking here.
Cover Letter Tips: Format
The format of your cover letter is quite standard. Although there are multiple ways in which to format a business letter, it is pretty cut and dry. There is not much (if any) creativity involved except for your header.
Choose a format and apply it throughout the letter. Do not mix and match formats. Our preference is the block format where the text is left-justified.
Unlike a usual business letter, your cover letter will have a header which will consist of your name and contact information, including: phone number, email address, city and state and LinkedIn profile URL.
This is the most creativity you will be awarded as you can structure it however you’d like.
This will be a very similar header to your résumé which gives the visual appearance that the two documents coincide.
Cover Letter: Key Points
When employers read your cover letter, they are looking for certain pieces of information. It should not merely repeat what you have stated in your résumé.
Employers will also read your cover letter before looking at your résumé so it truly is your first impression. It is not just a filler document that you check off your list. You need to make it a great one.
Did you realize it held that much weight?
Consider answering the following questions when writing your cover letter:
- Why are you applying for this position? Remember to state what position it is that you are applying for! This sounds obvious and that is exactly why we mention it. The obvious can be easily missed.
- What are your top qualifications? Highlight them. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job. While your résumé states your accomplishments in hard numbers and statistical information, your cover letter should state be more personal.
Think personal statements. “I am…” and “My skills…”
- What can you do for them? Employers are looking for the best candidate to fit their position. Of course, they can read your qualifications and assume that since you have done x,y and z before, you can do it for them BUT if you can tell them that directly—without them having to reach that conclusion on their own—bingo.
You have just spoken straight to their hearts and taken the words out of their mouths.
The job listing will list the desired qualifications. Read them and speak to them!
- Why do you want to work for this organization? You must have a good answer for this one. Merely stating that you have always wanted to work for the organization is not strong enough. If that truly is your feeling, include it but don’t let that be the only reason!
Cover Letter: Language
You know the importance of a cover letter and what to include in yours. As it is your first impression and you know that you only get one of those, the language you use is imperative to make you stand out.
Similar to your outfit at an interview, the language in a cover letter (and résumé) is a major part of your selling point.
The number one thing to do is use active language!
You do not have the time or the convenience to be humble. Open up that old thesaurus or use one online here.
Using active language is more interesting to read. Plain and simple. Trade in words like “great” for “excellent” or “outstanding” and vary them. Don’t overuse the same words.
We suggest writing your cover letter to include all of the key points above and then re-read it. Does it speak to you? Does it paint a masterpiece? Do you want to hire yourself?
Cover Letter Tips | Invest in Yourself
This is one of three blog posts that we have written for you to enhance your professional presence and improve your chances of getting hired, should you be in the job market.
We strongly believe in the power that these documents have and also the power in you! Take the time to write a
great outstanding first impression. Did you see what we did there?
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