Creating A Simple and Compelling Cover Letter
You know that popular saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover?” In this case, that’s exactly what employers do when fishing for new talent.
Resumes are the first thing employees see of your potential character. While this is true, they’re often accompanied by cover letters directed to a hiring authority.
Cover letters are an important piece of the job application, but it’s often overlooked by job-seekers. We encourage people to keep the cover letter in the arsenal. When job postings request a cover letter, it’s important to provide the company with one; but when they merely ask for a resume, it’s best to not include a cover letter. Be conscious when applying for positions and read the application instructions carefully.
When the application process begins with the cover letter, keep in mind its purpose: to introduce yourself and your resume to the hiring authority, which could be anyone from recruiters and HR professionals, to VPs or the CEO. If they don’t like your cover letter, there’s a chance they might not even look at your resume.
Writing a cover letter can be a daunting task. So, we have some tips for you on how to write a solid yet simple cover letter, and get noticed above other applicants.
- Personalize your cover letter.
If you can, avoid generic salutations such as “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern.” Instead, address the cover letter to the appropriate person. This might involve doing some legwork to find out who that person might be. You might have to call the company or find them on LinkedIn. But keep in mind that people are always happier to read something when it’s directed to them personally. Its shows off your tenacity to investigate and get the right information.
- Customize your cover letter
A Google search of “cover letter templates” will conjure tons of results. But if templates aren’t your thing, perhaps it’d be better to tailor one for yourself. Each cover letter you write should be tailored to both the position you’re applying for and the company. If you know someone who is a talented writer, it’s also a good idea to have them proofread it and add some value to your messaging.
- Come up with a compelling opening line.
“My name is so-and-so and I’m interested in applying for…” Recruiters have frequently seen this opening line. But, it’s boring and redundant. Instead, go for something creative and unexpected. Highlight your skills and achievements right off the bat. And talk about the value you can bring to not just the position, but the organization overall. Remember that anyone in a hiring authority reads dozens of cover letters a day. And if anything will stick out to them the most, it’s the opening line. So, do your best to differentiate yourself.
- Share your knowledge and interest in the company.
A resume is a story about you. But, it’s not sufficient to merely discuss yourself. You should tie yourself in the organization. So, share your knowledge of what the company does and why you want to work there. If you have an internal reference at the company, get the inside scoop ( or use LinkedIn to find them). If not, we suggest going through annual reports if it’s a public company. If it’s a medium-to-small-sized company, leaf through its press releases going back two to three years. Read as much as possible. Organizations love it when you’re aware of what they’ve been up to. So, use all possible avenues and do your homework. Maybe you’ll dig up some negative info on the company, and realize it’s not the place for you to build a great career.
- End the cover letter with a “Call to Action”
Similar to the opening line, try to be creative again. Conclude your cover letter with a call to action to build a rapport with the hiring manager. It’s also a good idea to reaffirm your interest in working for the company. You can try something short and simple like this: “This opportunity aligns well with my work history. Thank you for taking the time, courtesy, and attention in reviewing my resume. Please feel free to connect with me directly via phone, email or LinkedIn.”
- Edit and then edit some more.
You have no idea how many times recruiters have said they caught typos in cover letters – and serious ones if I might add, which include misspelling the hiring manager’s name or getting the company wrong. For each cover letter you write, make sure you proofread before sending it!
When it comes to writing – and writing cover letters – keep in mind that this is a potential marketing document that will influence the person reading it to move you forward in the hiring process. So, remember to keep it simple and compelling to stand out from the crowd. Discuss your track record and how it makes you a suitable addition to the company.
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