The cover letter, intended as an opportunity to demonstrate your unique qualifications as a potential employee, in reality, can be the most difficult area in the hiring process to stand out. According to Glassdoor’s guide How to Write a Cover Letter, “Your cover letter is meant to convey more personality. The cover letter is your first introduction to the person who may hire you, and its goal should be to make you as memorable as possible, in a good way.” So what’s the special sauce that will have a recruiter devouring your letter from start to finish? The following words and phrases will help take you from sitting in front of a blank Word document to sitting in front of your next employer.
Before you start your cover letter, make sure it’s personally addressed to the reader. While your instinct may be to open with “To whom it may concern” as you crank out letters to different employers, it’s much more worthwhile to use the name of the hiring manager. “If you want to make a strong impression, then take the time to find out who you’re addressing,” the ebook says. Mentioning a mutual contact early on in your cover letter will also provide the manager with an immediate reference to speak with.
Including numbers at the beginning of your cover letter also provides concrete evidence of your previous professional accomplishments. Metrics such as hours devoted to a project or number of people you managed on a team can impress a recruiter off the bat.
Expressing your enthusiasm for the position you are applying for demonstrates your dedication to a job. Beyond explaining your skills, saying you’re excited and want to hit the ground running shows you’re truly interested in the field you are pursuing.
Determining culture fit is becoming as important to companies as evaluating past experience. Use terms like collaborate, mentor, and communicate while providing examples of teamwork that emphasize your ability to productively work with colleagues. Talking about how you can contribute to a company’s success also displays your worth to an organization and expresses dedication beyond your own personal gain.
When looking over your cover letter, give your final draft a boost by seeing what generic terms you can upgrade. According to the ebook, “Adding a little word variation helps you stand out against other applicants.” For example, write imaginative instead of creative, substitute inventive for innovative, and choose tenacious over determined. “Show that you can think beyond what the average applicant is willing to do.”
A call to action at the end of a cover letter is a must — but a closing statement that comes off too confident may turn off a recruiter. The ebook recommends to “let the call to action be polite and open ended” with phrases such as looking forward to speaking and excited to offer more information.
Want to learn more about the secrets to writing a successful cover letter? Read How to Write a Cover Letter.
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