It’s easy to think that your resume can speak for itself however, this is not always the case. Every application needs a cover letter even if sometimes we think we have covered all our experiences in the resume. Cover letters present the perfect opportunity to tell prospective employers why you stand out from the crowd.
How to write a good cover letter
The salutation is your first line of contact with whoever oversees the hiring process. However, it’s also one of the easiest to mess up. To make a good first impression, find out the name of the hiring professional. If you can’t find the name, educated guesswork can still win. Search Google or LinkedIn for possible names and confirm the correct spellings. This demonstrates your attention to detail and that you try harder than most people.
Avoid repeating your resume
Yes, it’s supposed to introduce your application/your resume but don’t repeat information. Cover letters give you more power in explaining your experience. You can use full sentences instead of bullet points. Use this opportunity to expand on your resume points.
Let them know your value
Companies already know that their offered positions can bring benefits to whoever gets it. Applicants often make the mistake of explaining the benefits of the post to the HR department. Instead, focus on what you can offer the company once you get the role.
Show them what you are capable of. Don’t just say what you did in the past. Relate your skills and experience to the key priorities and requirements of the job. Consider allotting a section of the cover letter to discussing what you can deliver in the role.
It’s all about skills
Many applicants think that focusing on their educational background will be enough to convince prospective employers. Hiring managers often care about your work experience. They need to know whether you have the skills to do the job. What matters is that when you walk through the door, you can deliver.
Suggested cover letter format
If you want to deliver the right cover letter, here’s an ideal format/style:
- The first paragraph – introduce yourself and explain why your previous experiences set you out for the job (add a referral source/s if applicable).
- The second paragraph – offer your value to the company by expounding more on your value to the company and their nature of the business.
- The third paragraph – this can be your call-to-action. Ask if you can talk more (interview) and when should you follow up.
If you’re replying to a job posting, then make the column approach. For example:
- Job requirements: x years of consulting experience
- Your experience: Worked with “client” to help in their change management initiative
- Job requirements: Attention to detail
- Your experience: Tracked the project’s progress and provided a weekly update
Of course, your copy needs to have correct spelling and grammar. Leave a good impression with the hiring manager by avoiding incorrect sentence structure and misspelt words. Get a second pair of eyes to read through your letter. This gives you a second confirmation that you’re good to go.
Getting the right job requires exerting enough effort to let people see the value you can provide.