Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter
Your cover letter can be just as critical as your resume when it comes to landing a job, but most of us have read a lot more advice on how to write a resume than how to write a cover letter. Setting aside the obvious (that you should use good grammar and make it obvious what job you are applying for), what are the secret ingredients to a winning cover letter?
Don’t rehash the contents of your resume on your cover letter.
You might briefly indicate your background, and refer the reader to the pages of your resume for more information, but the idea is only to provide a hint of what is inside. The resume already has all the details, and you waste time and space by talking about them on your cover letter.
Show, don’t tell.
This is one of the biggest challenges when you are writing a cover letter or resume, but it is very important you learn how to find examples of things you are good at, instead of just say you are good at them. Don’t say things like, “I am a problem solver/team player/people person.” Instead, find ways to prove that you are those things through specific examples.
Don’t say “I” constantly.
Use “we” now and again to show that you can take on a collectivist point of view. Talk about the employer as well and not just yourself. Demonstrate that you have actually learned about the company in question and that you are aware of their needs and that you can meet those needs better than anyone.
Be a human being.
Resumes are so tightly formatted that they don’t really allow you a chance to let your personality and character traits to shine through. Those are strengths that you can’t fit into bullet points. Anyone can bring experience to a position, but not everyone can bring character or real passion for the industry. If there is something particular that attracts you to the industry or the company or the job position itself, this is your only chance to share that before you get called in for an interview. Most employers say they would rather hire an employee with loyalty and a great attitude who needs some training than an employee who needs no training but who doesn’t really care about the job.
As one last rule, keep your cover letter brief.
The worst thing you can do is go on and on for pages and pages. It wastes time, and makes it look like you can’t bring an idea across effectively. Several short paragraphs are all you need to provide a snapshot of who you are and what you can bring to the company. Don’t waste an employer’s resources, and don’t allow yourself to come across as vain by talking about yourself incessantly. The ideal cover letter provides a succinct but vivid portrait of a job candidate, and allows the employer to imagine that candidate successfully filling the job role.