As you seek out your dream job, you have to write cover letters that really shine. Your professional resume and cover letter are a great way you can set yourself apart from the competition. Unfortunately, most people write a cover letter that reads like a cookie-cutter form letter rather than one that shows who you are as a professional and why you are the ideal candidate. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to put some effort into writing your cover letter.
Rethink the Content
When you write your cover letters, think about ways that you can include information that is not on your resume. This might reflect feedback from a former manager, behavioral traits or work habits. These are details that never appear on a resume, but could make you more appealing to a potential employer. The last thing you want to do is repeat your resume word for word.
Do Your Research
With any luck, your application will be read by the hiring manager. This is your chance to show that you are the best candidate for the position. Before you start writing, research the company. Look at their website and employee profiles on LinkedIn. You want to learn about the company’s culture, vision and mission. With this information, you can make sure that your application showcases how you fit in within the bigger picture.
Use a PDF
Many computers do not read .docx and other file types. If the hiring manager wants to read your application, they would have to do a file conversion. This can cause information to be lost or formatted poorly. If it’s too much trouble, the hiring manager might just move on to the next application. Instead, save your application as a PDF. Nearly everyone can read a PDF.
Keep Cover Letters Short
The average hiring manager spends about eight seconds scanning an application. If the cover letters are long and in-depth, they will never read all of it. You generally want to stick to three paragraphs. If you have to include more information, keep your cover letter to half a page or less.
Strike the Right Balance
While you are trying to sell yourself, you do not want to come across as arrogant or naive. Do not include sentences like, “I am the most qualified candidate.”. No one likes to feel like they are being sold on an idea. Be confident but not over the top.
Who To Address
When writing a letter, most people struggle to decide if they want a generic address like “To whom it may concern.” If you do not know who will receive the letter, do not worry about a bland address simply state Dear Hiring Manager.
Close Off Strong
At the end of your cover letters, quickly explain how your experience will help you on the job. This should be a short, strong statement. You do not want it to be any longer than that. Your goal is to avoid rambling and reiterate why you are a good candidate. If you have followed those rules, then your cover letter will have a strong close.