Your Cover Letter is Much More Than a Formality…It’s Essential

April 27th, 2016

Many job seekers mistakenly assume it’s acceptable to submit the same cover letter for every position — or that doing so is an entirely optional step. If this is your strategy, you probably haven’t had many interview requests because it is absolutely not okay to put anything less than 100% effort into each and every cover letter.

You only get one chance to make a first impression and your cover letter is it. Consequently, each one must be unique and written for the opportunity at-hand. This route definitely takes more time, but receiving an offer for a job you really want will make it well worth the extra work.

5 Tips to Make Your Cover Letter Outstanding


Supplement Your Resume

Use your cover letter to tell your story, because your professional history is already listed on your resume. This is your chance to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and create a compelling case for why you should be selected for an interview, so make every sentence count.

Focus on Your Strengths

When applying for a job you’re not quite qualified for, don’t use the cover letter to highlight your shortcomings and try to justify them. Instead, keep the tone positive by selling your strengths to convince the hiring manager to give you a chance, despite not meeting all the requirements.

Explain Why You’re a Great Fit

Hiring managers want to find a candidate who has both the skills to succeed at the job and the personality needed to fit in with the rest of the team. Prove you’re that person by carefully reviewing the organization’s website and social media pages to learn more about its company culture. Emulate the tone used online in your cover letter and highlight something about the culture that makes you really excited about the possibility of working for company.

Use Keywords

Companies often get more applications for each position than they could possibly ever review, so many use software to scan cover letters and resumes for certain keywords and phrases — and those without a high enough percentage are eliminated. These can be found in the job description, so review it carefully and try to incorporate anything used multiple times into your copy in a natural, flowing manner.

Get to the Point

Busy hiring managers don’t have time to read a long cover letter, so make yours short and succinct. Try to state your case in approximately three paragraphs, which should equal about half a page. Never go longer than one page, as no one will read it and rambling on will just make you look like an amateur.

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