The cover letter is perhaps one of the most important parts of the job search process. A strong, well-worded cover letter introduces you as a candidate, entices hiring managers to read your resume and persuades them to schedule an interview. A little extra time and energy goes a long way. Here are a few tips to craft the best cover letter for you.
1. Meet Employer Needs
How can hiring you benefit the employer? The purpose of your cover letter is to answer this question. The biggest clue is contained within the job posting. Review the main bullet points the employer is looking for in a candidate, and play up your relevant strengths and abilities in order to mirror that. Don't try to fake your way through it by molding to whatever the job description says. Be yourself, and play up your true abilities in a way that speaks to the employer's needs.
2. Avoid Generic Language
Hiring managers are busy people, sometimes sifting through stacks of hundreds of cover letters and resumes. They've heard it all, so avoid using canned, generic phrases and words to sound more professional. This only makes your cover letter sound bland and clichéd. To avoid this, write your first draft using the first words that come to your head, without any regard for sounding "right." Once you're done, read it through, and make changes where needed to give it polish. You'll be left with a final draft that sounds more natural and original.
3. Include Examples
To make your accomplishments more compelling and memorable, talk about them using specific data like numbers and dates. Instead of saying you increased sales in your department, mention that you spearheaded a project that led to a 20 percent increase in sales over a three-month period. Make sure you talk about only the accomplishments that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying.
4. Be Likable
As rigid and technical as the job search may be, employers are looking for human beings, so don't be afraid to charm them. It is hard to come across as pleasant and likable in your resume, so make sure your cover letter does it for you. Convey your passion and enthusiasm as you discuss why you are a great fit for the company. Be careful not to allow your language to become too casual. Remain professional throughout your cover letter, and let a trusted friend or family member read it over before sending it out.
Putting together the perfect cover letter for each position takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the long run. In today's competitive job market, you are up against hundreds of other candidates, so a customized and compelling cover letter helps you stand out to companies and hiring managers.
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