To a recruiter or hiring manager, cover letters matter. Their importance can sometimes be underestimated by job seekers as they sink much time and effort into writing their resume. Your resume is critical, but it can easily be overlooked if your cover letter doesn’t grab a hiring manager’s attention.
Why are Cover Letters So Important?
Cover letters serve a different purpose than resumes. A resume advertises who are, what you can do, what you have done, and what type of education you have. But, according to UWEC Career Services, “The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to an organization, demonstrate your interest in the company or a specific vacancy, draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to interview you.”
If your cover letter isn’t compelling, you might get passed over for the next candidate. That’s why it’s important to perfect your cover letter to the best of your ability.
These Tips Will Help You Write the Perfect Cover Letter
When job searching, it’s important to keep your cover letter on point. Here are a few tips for writing a fantastic cover letter.
1. Personalize your cover letter — If you want your cover letter to stand out, make it personal and original, not generic. A generic cover letter can prevent hiring managers from checking out your resume.
An effective way to personalize your cover letter is by explaining why you are qualified for the job. “First, look carefully at the job listing,” wrote a contributor to the Balance Careers. “Second, select two or three skills, abilities, or experiences that the job requires that you know you have.”
Finally, include examples of times you proved you were proficient in those skills and abilities.
2. Include the hiring manager’s name — Remembering someone’s name is a surefire way to build rapport with them. Mentioning the hiring manager, HR person, or internal recruiter by name in your cover letter has the same effect. “…this tip is important because it allows you to tailor your letter to not only the company — but also the individual,” stated the Glassdoor Blog.
You might have to do some digging to find the person’s name who will be reviewing your cover letter and resume, but make it a priority. Taking the time to make a couple of phone calls or send a few emails to find the right name may really pay off.
3. Don’t go in-depth about your education — In a cover letter, there’s no need discuss your education at length. You can do that in your resume. While hiring managers certainly care about your education, they care more about your work experience.
If you’re lacking in the area of work experience (i.e., are a recent grad) or don’t meet some of the job requirements, don’t apologize for yourself. The Muse discouraged job seekers from making statements like “Despite my limited experience as a manager…” or “While I may not have direct experience in marketing…” A contributor suggested you write something like this instead: “I’m excited to translate my experience in [what you’ve done in the past] to a position that’s more [what you’re hoping to do next].”
Recent grads can mention volunteer work or internships they’ve been part of to make up for their lack of work experience.
Make the Most of Your Cover Letter to Land the Job You Want
You might be perfectly qualified for a job and be a fantastic cultural fit for a company, but if an employer is unimpressed with your cover letter, you might not be seriously considered. By ensuring your cover letter is original and not generic, mentioning the hiring manager’s name, and discussing your work experience more than your education, you can pen the perfect cover letter and increase your chances of joining the ranks of the employed.
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