Many advertised job openings still receive hundreds of applications. Although you’re qualified for the job, your skills and resume may not be enough to get the hiring manager’s attention. To come out ahead of the competition, spend some time perfecting your cover letter.
Your cover letter gives you the opportunity to tell the company the benefits you bring with your skills and qualifications – instead of the hiring manager needing to figure it out. Although they should be compelling, they should also remain concise.
Not sure if your cover letter is going to convey the right message? Here are some tips to help:
- Always customize your cover letter for each job opening and tell the manager how you found out about the job. Was it through a mutual connection? Did you read about it on Twitter? Or are you reaching out in hopes of a job opening? Let them know.
- Try to find the name of the hiring manager. If it is not listed, utilize online resources, such as LinkedIn, to find it. Or call the company directly and ask.
- Tell the employers why you should be hired among all the other candidates – it’s what they’re wondering anyways!
- Relate your experience, skills, and interests to the employer’s needs. Show that you understand business priorities and are ready to make a contribution.
- Highlight professional skills you have developed through your experiences.
- Show your personality and desire by telling a story with specific and quantifiable results. Be sure to tie in your story’s theme with the rest of your letter. But – don’t turn your story into an autobiography.
- Highlight leadership roles you’ve held in organizations and clubs.
- Use language that is professional but friendly and natural. There is no need for huge words in your cover letter.
- Always close the letter on a strong note. Request an interview or tell them you’ll follow up in a week.
The bottom line: most hiring managers read a cover letter first and may not end up looking at your résumé. Don’t botch your search by sending in a cover letter that’s not up-to-par.