Your Introduction To The Professional World
These are things that you will do for every cover letter you wish to send. Each letter needs to be tailor-made for the position and company you’re applying for – trust me, they’ll notice of it isn’t.
It takes about 7 seconds for a first impression to be made. By showing you’ve made an effort you’re building on that initial impact.
Read the job description being advertised and circle keywords and phrases that resonate with you. Include those words in your letter paragraphs.
Research the company’s history and recent accomplishments. You want to show that you have made an informed decision applying for the job as you have knowledge about the company itself.
Find something in their mission statement, culture, training or leadership that you can personally connect with. Scout them out on social media, read their blog and attend events they’re hosting.
Target your cover letter by finding out who you’ll be sending it to and address them directly. Looking online or calling reception and finding out who you’ll be dealing with is a simple way to get this information. Once you have a name it’s recommended to use their title (Mr, Mrs, Ms or Dr).
A very traditional setting is required for a cover letter. Contrary to popular belief though, a cover letter should be short and to the point. Hiring managers do not have time to be reading your entire autobiography; less is more. It should be clear, concise, easy to read and to the point.
Your Contact Details
In case your cover letter becomes separated from your résumé you don’t want them at a loss about how to contact you.
Make sure it’s a current date – submitting an old outdated cover letter is a dead giveaway that you didn’t put any effort into the application process.
Employer Contact Details
If you haven’t been able to get a name, the following are acceptable, if generic, ways of greeting:
This is where you state the position you’re applying for and how you found out about the availability. It’s a short paragraph of one to three sentences.
Some companies are large enough that the hiring manager may be responsible for filling multiple job vacancies, so it is important for them to know which position you’re applying for.
If you’ve been referred by an employee of theirs this is the paragraph to mention it as they may have a form of employee referral program in place. A personal reference is a sure way to get your cover letter read.
This is the longest paragraph (which may be split into two) and is where you establish your strength as a candidate by providing examples of when you have used transferable skills to achieve specific results. The examples need to be both specific and translatable.
To keep from getting long-winded use the following formula:
Situation. Action. Result.
You want to be specific about why you believe these qualities relate to the position and how you fit what they’re looking for.
The final paragraph should be short and to the point. Conclude in one sentence why you are perfect for the job. It reinforces the assertion that you are a strong candidate.
Thank them for their consideration and mention how they can contact you for an interview.
“Yours sincerely” if you know their name, “Yours faithfully” or “Respectfully” if you started with anything like ‘Dear Ma’am’.
Résumé’s focus on the past whereas cover letters allow you to discuss the present.
A cover letter is there to compliment the dry facts of your résumé. Although hard work to get the right balance between personal and professional, when done right it can have a major effect on your chances of landing the interview for that coveted job.
What else do you think should be addressed? What would you add?
Do you have any questions or feedback? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!