Writing the perfect cover letter is one common hope of every employee, as an amazing letter will improve their odds of landing the job.
In today’s competitive job marketplace, there are lots of professionals who are looking for great jobs so it’s important that you take the necessary actions to stand out. The first step is getting your resume and cover letter in front of the right people and, in some cases, it also has to make it through applicant tracking system (ATS) scans.
Follow these tips to ensure your cover letter makes it into the hiring manager and lands you that interview!
Quality over quantity. That’s the first rule that’ll help you craft the perfect cover letter. But what does quality mean? Well, here are some qualities of a high-performing cover letter:
When you bring something new to the table, the chances are that you’re going to get remarked. It works the same with cover letters. Write something thought-provoking. Something powerful. Something that would give the reader a breakthrough. There are so many different ways to convey your personality and experience in your cover letter, so get creative and think outside the box.
Long, boring, cookie-cutter cover letters are the worst. You should focus on quality, not on quantity. Cover letters are meant to be short and concise, so keep it that way.
A cover letter must not contain mistakes. Especially not grammar and spelling mistakes. That only proves that you really don’t care about leaving a first good impression, and really no employer wants that.
Pay close attention to your text’s structure and formatting. Write short sentences and use an easy-to-read size and font. Moreover, don’t overcomplicate words. Use simple words and expressions that can be digested easily.
Free of unnecessary words
Refrain from using unnecessary buzzwords. As I’ve already mentioned before, your letter should be short and concise. Adding extra, unnecessary words will probably annoy or bore the reader.
Before sending your cover letter, ensure that you do your homework on the companies you are interested in applying to. Visit their website and sites like Glassdoor, social media channels, search engines, informational interviews and direct contacts if you have them, to find out details such as:
These answers should give you a better understanding of the company and you should write your cover letter in the style that you believe would be the most appropriate. For example, some companies love to get informal while others expect only formal professionalism. Never write a cover letter before finding out more about your target company.
Most people would advise you to showcase your skills and experience. However, the cover letter is not meant to do that. That’s the resume. Your resume is the place where every important skill, experience and talent must be displayed. A cover letter’s role is to add an extra impact and will strengthen the relationship with your interviewers.
So what is better than skills and experience? Well, it’s the unique value proposition (UVP). The term is used to describe the unique benefits that your presence will bring to the company. The things you bring to the table. The way your contribution will help the company like no other contribution does. You get the point. Sell yourself well and let employers know the reason why they should choose you instead of your competitors.
Good stories are fascinating. You know, the people who are reading your cover letter are already bored to death by a dozen other letters that fall in the “standard” category. If you were to think strategically, you’d understand that the faster you capture your reader’s attention the better chances you’ll have to make yourself remarkable.
If you have interesting stories to tell, don’t hesitate to tell them. However, these stories should have a bigger purpose and indirectly describe some of your subtle qualities and talents. Boring stories are worse than no stories at all, so let your most cynical friend take a quick look at your letter and give you a friendly suggestion.
Everyone loves people that are different. In our context, different means remarkable because of knowledge, personality and skills. Moreover, the way you present yourself and your UVP through the cover letter you send will produce significant effects. The more professional you look the better chances you stand.
Showcase out-of-the-box thinking by suggesting certain things or by stating different aspects. Show your beliefs (indirectly) and demonstrate exceptional thinking. If you manage to stand out from the crowd, every employer will be happy to meet you. Would you not do the same if you’d switch spots with the company leaders?
Crafting an awesome cover letter that is both remarkable and results-driven is totally achievable. Practice is key here, so make sure you don’t give up after a few failures.
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Robert Morris is a writer and an editor. He enjoys sharing his experience in writing and productivity.