When you apply for a job, you don’t have the chance to show your real capabilities or personality.
The hiring committee of the company doesn’t get to see you in action, which is why they judge the book by its cover (or cover letter). In this one-page letter, you have to show that you are right for the job without seeming too arrogant or desperate, which isn’t always easy.
As web hiring is becoming more and more popular, it’s important that you know how to write a cover letter that will capture a reader’s attention – and bring them back to take a second and third look.
Don’t repeat your resume
After looking at your resume, a reader will already know about your credentials, which means you need to go into greater detail in your cover letter.
Mention what you’ve done in your previous job or the challenges you’ve overcome at your last company.
You need to link your demonstrated capabilities with the responsibilities of the job at-hand; the hiring agent won’t be able to see how important you are for their company if you just list (again) where you worked and what your job entitled.
Mention the company’s accomplishments
Do some research on the company before sending your resume and cover letter.
See what awards they’ve won or what accomplishments they’ve achieved in the past 6-12 months and mention them on your cover letter. Mention why these accomplishments make you want to be part of such a thriving organization.
Keep it short
The person reading your cover letter has read dozens, if not hundreds, before getting to yours.
If you send a three-page essay outlining your whole life story, your letter will probably end up in the trash can.
Keep your letter to a page at the most to minimize rambling.
Mention your motivation
If you are called for an interview, you will definitely need to present and share your motivation for wanting to pursue a particular opportunity.
Get a head-start by describing your motivation in your cover letter! Think:
- What makes this a great opportunity to use your skills?
- How do the company’s values and culture fit your own?
- Why do you want the job so badly?
Don’t make it sound like a presentation
Whatever you do, don’t start your cover letter with the following sentence: “Hi, my name is _____, I would like to work with ______ Inc.”
Keep in mind that you are trying to show your professional personality in the cover letter, therefore starting it like you would a presentation in Middle School won’t help.
You need to show that you are a responsible and capable adult who can bring many benefits to the company.
Finish the letter by very quickly explaining why your background or capabilities will help you at the job. This should be only one or two sentences, not more. The more sentences you add, the more you ramble.
If you implement these tips when writing a cover letter, you will catch the hiring committee’s attention and will be one step closer to getting the job of your dreams.
Remember: apply to jobs that you know you can do.
If you don’t have the tools today to accomplish the job but would still love to work for that company, click the Apply button. Everybody learns on the job one day or another, so don’t be shy to apply to something that you only have 80% knowledge in, the remaining 20% will come as you work.