Consider These Tips Before You Write Your Next Cover Letter

John Krautzel
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Writing a cover letter can be tricky, particularly if you're not sure whether you have the right skills and experiences to be the best candidate for the job. These tips can help you to use your cover letter to convince an employer to take a chance on you.

1. Avoid Drawing Attention to Your Weaknesses

Perhaps you lack experience in using a particular type of software that is required for the job, or maybe you only have four years of retail experience when the job posting calls for five. If you don't have all the skills that the employer lists as desirable, don't open your cover letter apologizing for your lack of relevant experience, as this kind of lack of confidence is a signal to the hiring manager that you aren't capable of doing the job well. Instead, focus on the skills and qualifications you do have and explain how they make you a good fit for the role. For example, you may not have experience managing people in the workplace, but maybe you organized and led people during a voluntary project. Use the limited space available in your cover letter to talk about the experiences you have had, rather than making excuses.

2. Explain What Makes You Unique

If you don't have direct experience in the type of role for which you are applying, you need to convince the hiring manager that your background actually makes you a better candidate for the role than someone who has worked in that kind of job before. For example, even if you've never worked in a retail environment before, you might have had jobs that developed your communication skills and demonstrated your flair for quickly connecting with people, which could be great skills to have in a retail role. When changing careers, your transferable skills are your key assets, so it's important to ensure your cover letter communicates them well.

3. Be the Perfect Candidate

If your skills and experiences don't make you the perfect candidate for a job, you need to be perfect in every other way. Read your cover letter carefully to make sure it contains no spelling errors, use an appropriate opening for your letter, and follow up on all communications in a timely manner. Even something as simple as sending a thank you note after interview can help hiring managers to form a good impression of you as a candidate. By paying attention to these details, you can come across as the perfect candidate, even if your background doesn't make you an obvious fit for the role.

By keeping these three tips in mind, you can write an impressive cover letter, even if you don't have every skill listed in the job posting. Use these tips to help you land your next job.

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