Do the ‘write’ thing
Follow these tips to create an effective cover letter
While most job seekers recognize the importance of a well-crafted resume, many neglect another vital component of the process: the cover letter.
A strong cover letter may not guarantee that you land a good job, but a poor cover letter may guarantee you won’t. On its own, an effective cover letter can catch the eye of a busy hiring manager who is tasked with finding worthy candidates among stacks of applications, while a poorly constructed cover letter could result in the screener never even glancing at the applicant’s resume hidden underneath.
An effective cover letter should be concise, conveying an applicant’s work history and goals in just a few paragraphs. The following are some additional ways savvy job seekers can craft effective cover letters.
Address the letter to a specific person
When responding to a job posting that lists a specific contact, address your cover letter to that person rather than beginning the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” Personalize each cover letter you write so the hiring manager does not get the feeling that you are sending out cover letters en masse. Make sure the hiring manager’s name is spelled correctly and that his or her job title is accurate.
State your purpose early.
The purpose of a cover letter — which is to state the job you’re seeking — should be immediately clear to the reader. Hiring managers often handle the vetting process for a host of positions at their companies, so the earlier the hiring manager knows which position you’re applying for, the better. Hiring managers may become frustrated when applicants don’t make their intentions clear or do so in the final paragraph of the letter instead of the first.
Explain why you are a qualified candidate
for the job.
While it’s good to note your work history, keep in mind that your resume will do the bulk of that legwork. The cover letter is your opportunity to demonstrate how your work history makes you a qualified candidate for a specific position. Be concise, but relate a specific example that illustrates how your work history will help you thrive in the position for which you’re applying. Exhibit some knowledge about the company to which you’re applying.
An effective cover letter should help you stand out among your fellow applicants, and expressing some knowledge about the organization can do just that. The goal is to illustrate how you and the organization are a good fit, so you don’t need to go overboard or be too specific, but hiring managers are likely to be more impressed by applicants who do their homework and show a knowledge of the company than applicants who submit a form cover letter in which the company is scarcely mentioned.
Be cordial in your closing.
A cover letter should close with a cordial request for an interview or a friendly indication that you look forward to a company’s response to your application. In addition, thank the reader for his or her time, and mention that you will be delighted to answer any questions he or she may have.
An effective cover letter can go a long way toward making a strong first impression on a prospective employer. The cover letter is your first opportunity to make a positive connection with the company, and it is well worth your time to craft an effective document that reflects your candidacy.