In recent weeks, we covered how to make your resume stand out, and prior to that we went over a few tips to help you nail your interview. There’s one important piece of the employment-seeking process that we left out, and so this time we’re going to focus on the equally essential yet often overlooked cover letter.
A cover letter is a brief document you enclose along with your resume to express your interest in an available position. It’s your chance to elaborate on the education and experience presented in your resume and identify how well your skills and qualifications align with the requirements of the job.
Demonstrate your knowledge of the company.
You definitely want to do your research on the company you are applying to and include some of your findings in your letter. Evincing that you know something about the company can earn you brownie points with hiring managers, ensuring them that you’ve taken the time to dig into the company’s history, culture, values and goals.
Tailor the letter to the job.
Using the same generic cover letter for every job you apply for is a critical mistake. While it’s okay to reuse a few sentences here and there, you’ll stand out to hiring managers if your letter is specifically tailored to the job you’re applying for. Use some of the language in the job description and demonstrate the ways in which your skills correspond to the duties and responsibilities listed in the description.
Include figures and facts.
Highlight your most relevant achievements and accomplishments from previous roles and provide figures wherever you can. If you had a measurable impact on an organization, hiring managers will want to know that, so be sure to share these results in your cover letter. Instead of simply telling hiring managers about what you accomplished, show them with figures and facts that serve as proof.
Keep it brief.
A cover letter shouldn’t be more than a page or two. You don’t want to overshare about every single thing you’ve ever done in every position you’ve ever had. Just highlight the most important and most relevant things that will be of interest to the hiring managers. Use action verbs and concise language to get to the point.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to write a compelling cover letter that will stand out to hiring managers. Start strong by demonstrating your interest and excitement. And finish strong by thanking your readers for their consideration and discussing next steps. You’ve got this!