Just like your resume, your cover letter needs to attract the attention of the prospective employer to want to look at your resume and find out more. The cover letter needs to be really well written and in business letter format. The cover letter is your best chance to brag about yourself and tell the employer why they would want to hire you and what you have to offer.
Here is what you should do in regards to writing a cover letter to accompany your resume:
- You should always include a cover letter even if the employer in the advertisement does not request it. This is especially important when applying for any professional type of positions. If you do not include a cover letter, they may just not even bother to look at your actual resume.
- Be direct and to the point. Remember the employers get tons of applicants for every job opening and if your cover letter is too wordy, they might not want to read it.
- Keep the tone friendly and light, but professional. You want the reader to see a little of your personality and how you will fit in with their culture and organization.
- Address the hiring manager’s name in the salutation and keep it professional. Make sure to be professional by using phrases such as; “Dear Mr. Smith”, not “Dear Bob”. If it is a blind ad and you do not know who the hiring manager is, then it is okay to address the letter as, “Dear Hiring Manager”.
- Be sure to focus on what the employer needs in a candidate. Show them that you’re the employee they want, what you can do for them and how you can help the employer in their future goals. Do your research and pick out keywords of what the employer wants in an employee. You can always use the job description as a guide if they have a detailed one to see what they are looking for.
- Make sure you proofread your cover letter. Make sure it is grammatically correct, professional type of format, spelling is correct and that it has a good flow. You can even seek advice by writing professionals just to be sure.
- Use same paper and quality as your resume. It should be a matched set. I always use paper which is 25 % or 100% cotton and geared specifically for resume or business letter writing. It’s an easy and cheap way make a striking impression right from the start.
- Be sure to make each cover letter unique. You should not create a generic cover letter and use the same one for each job you apply for. Each cover letter needs to be individualized to that specific employer. Each one should be specific to the skill set that employer is looking for.
These tips will help ensure your success in landing that next important career. Your cover letter along with your resume is your very first impression a prospective employer has of you and you need it to be your very best. Think of your cover letter as a marketing tool and remember that this needs to catch the “employer’s attention” and make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.