I absolutely love the process of crafting great cover letters. You may have heard that some recruiters don’t read cover letters, but I would emphasize “some.” For the ones who do (and you don’t know who they will be), and for smaller employers, an impressive cover letter can make a huge difference.
Your cover letter can show recruiters and hiring managers a little bit about how you would show up in an interview. Here are 5 cover letter tips that will get you in the door!
1) Tailor the cover letter to the job posting.
I get a lot of requests from clients to write them a generic cover letter that they can use for any application. Every time, I refuse. My advice: NEVER write a generic cover letter. It will hurt you not help you. A company can smell it when you’ve used the same letter for multiple other job applications, and they don’t like it.
Instead, read the job description. Research the company. And in your cover letter, tell the company why you want to work for them specifically. What interests you about their mission and vision? What’s your connection to that brand? Writing that kind of letter will get the attention of the decision-maker.
2) Impress your reader quickly.
In the first paragraph, after you say what job you’re applying to, list briefly the major reasons you are the right candidate for the job. This task can be done in just a few words. Yes, really, it can! For example:
My experience as senior project manager at Blue Shoes, combined with my extensive coursework in business management at Green Vest University, give me the requisite skills for the Project Manager position at Purple Fashion Inc.
Note: The reader doesn’t have to wonder whether you’ve got the training and experience for the position. He or she has a reason to read further.
3) Give them what they need.
Say not what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company (they couldn’t care less how great a match they are for your interests!)
Do NOT say: “I have always been interested in fashion and the position at Purple Fashion Inc. will give me the experience I seek.”
Aaargh!! Companies are not in the business of giving you the experience you seek. They hire people who will make a contribution, not suck the life out of them!
Instead, say something like: “I have been studying business and working in the fashion industry for the entirety of my academic and professional career, and I look forward to contributing my skills and passion to Purple Fashion Inc.”
4) Tell a good, brief story.
This tip applies more to smaller organizations who take time to read your cover letter. The person reading your cover letter is a human being, and human beings like stories. If you do a good job with your cover letter, the reader will be enthralled and left wanting more. That’s the effect you want!
Here’s a sample story: “In 2008, I worked with our product design and marketing teams to implement a new product campaign, and it became clear that certain production costs would have to be reduced. Through my leadership, our team cut those costs by 30% without any labor reduction, and the campaign became profitable in the sixth month of operation. I will bring this capability for incisive and effective decision making to Purple Fashion Inc.”
5) Match your points to the skills sought by the company.
Include bullet points in your cover letter that speak exactly to the skill set listed in the job description. This can be different for every job you apply to. Make sure you address the top requirements of this company, vs. some generic company that might be a match for what you’ve done.
My clients have great success getting interviews, and I know at least part of that success is due to their effective cover letters. Use the above cover letter tips to create an engaging document that will win interviews.
Don’t forget the resume of course, which must be tailored to the job and packed with your accomplishments!
For assistance with writing cover letters and resumes that will get you interviews, contact The Essay Expert.