In the age of online applications and automated resumes, it’s easy to underestimate the power of the humble cover letter. But don’t be fooled by its unassuming appearance. A well-crafted cover letter can be your secret weapon in the job hunt, helping you stand out from the crowd and land your dream job.
What Is A Cover Letter
A cover letter, also known as an application letter or letter of interest, is a professional document sent with your resume when applying for a job. It acts as a personalized introduction, highlighting your most relevant skills and experiences and explaining why you’re the perfect fit for the specific position and company.
Why Is A Cover Letter Important
In a sea of generic resumes, a cover letter is your chance to tell your story and showcase your personality. It’s an opportunity to connect with the employer on a personal level. It also allows you to demonstrate your genuine interest in the position and the company.
According to LinkedIn, 83% of hiring managers take the cover letter into consideration for their hiring decisions. Whether a cover letter is required, optional, or not mentioned at all in the job posting, crafting the perfect cover letter using these 3 steps can skyrocket your chances of landing interviews!
3 Steps To The Perfect Cover Letter
Ready to write a cover letter that gets noticed? All you have to do is follow these three simple steps to build a standout cover letter.
Step 1: Write A Great Introduction
Don’t underestimate the power of the intro. Introduce yourself, state the targeted position, explain your enthusiasm for the role, and briefly touch on the skills and experience that make you an ideal candidate. Keep it concise. It’s not necessary to get too detailed, that is what your resume is for.
Remember, the goal of the introduction in the letter is a way to show you are a perfect fit for the job.
Step 2: Emphasize Key Strengths And Experience That Make You A Perfect Fit
Building upon your introduction, the second step is to delve deeper into your qualifications. You want to showcase the key skills and attributes you possess that directly align with the requirements of the position. Demonstrate the relevance of your past experiences by providing concrete examples that highlight how you’ve successfully applied them in similar contexts.
One long paragraph is okay, but I recommend splitting your cover letter body into smaller parts can make it easier to digest. Dedicate each paragraph to a different skill or experience that shows you’re a perfect fit for the role.
When writing this section consider these tips:
- Instead of simply listing your qualifications, actively demonstrate how you can apply your expertise to deliver impactful results in this specific role.
- Quantify your accomplishments to provide tangible evidence of your impact. Consider using metrics and data points to demonstrate the magnitude and significance of your successes. Potential employers want to see quantifiable results.
For example, instead of: “I’m a creative digital marketer.”
Try: “Leveraged social media campaigns to reach 300% more audience in 6 months, resulting in a 50% increase in website traffic and a 20% conversion rate boost.”
Remember, the key is to focus on specific actions, quantify results, and highlight the impact you made. By providing concrete examples and using numbers, you can create a much more compelling picture of your skills and experience. This gives you a stronger edge in the application process.
Step 3: For Your Conclusion Leave Them Wanting More
The closing is your opportunity to solidify your candidacy by showcasing why your skills, experience, and passion make you the ideal candidate, setting you apart from the competition. Don’t be humble. I want you to highlight your unwavering confidence in your qualifications and the unique value you offer this specific job position.
Strengthen the closing by including:
1. Reference what is in your resume or CV:
- A brief preview of the relevant skills and experience highlighted in my attached resume aligns with the requirements of this position.
- My resume provides a detailed overview of my qualifications, but I want to specifically draw your attention to my [mention specific skills or achievements relevant to the role].
2. Restate your interest in the position:
- I remain highly enthusiastic about the [position name] opportunity and confident that my qualifications make me a strong fit for your team.
- My interest in [company name] and this specific role has only grown since learning more about the challenging and impactful work you do.
3. Let them know you will follow up:
- I am eager to learn more about this opportunity and would welcome the chance to discuss my qualifications further in an interview. I will be available for contact at your convenience.
- I am confident that I can contribute significantly to [company name]’s success, and I look forward to discussing my potential through the next steps of the hiring process.
4. Add Links for additional information (online portfolio, LinkedIn, etc.):
- For further insights into my experience and work, I encourage you to visit my online portfolio at [link] or connect with me on LinkedIn at [link].
- My website, [link], showcases additional examples of my work and provides further details on my professional background.
5. Thank them for their time and consideration:
- Thank you for your time and consideration. I appreciate the opportunity to showcase my qualifications and look forward to hearing from you soon.
- I truly appreciate your time reviewing my application. I am confident that I can be a valuable asset to your team. Thank you once again for your consideration.
How To Format Your Cover Letter
As your cover letter is the first glimpse employers have of you. Meticulous formatting is crucial for making a strong initial impression.
Here’s how to format a letter that screams professionalism and attention to detail:
- Conciseness is key: Keep it to one page. Think of it as an elevator pitch – pack a punch in a limited time. This showcases your ability to communicate effectively and get straight to the point.
- Dress to impress (on paper): Choose a professional, legible font like Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, Verdana, or Tahoma. Stick to 11-12 point size and stick to it throughout your entire application package (resume, references, etc.). Consistency matters. And ditch the color – black font is the way to go.
- Structure and style: Single-space your letter with a space between paragraphs. No need for fancy indentations, but feel free to bullet point key skills for easy reading.
By following these tips, you’ll craft a cover letter that’s not just formatted correctly, but also impactful and memorable. Make a strong first impression and land that interview!
Proofread Your Cover Letter
Even a well-crafted cover letter can be negatively impacted by the presence of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Therefore, meticulous proofreading is crucial.
- Read it aloud: This helps you catch errors that might sound clunky or awkward when spoken. Read it slowly and pay attention to sentence structure, word choice, and flow.
- Take a break and come back later: Fresh eyes can spot mistakes you might miss after reading it multiple times. Come back to your letter after a few hours or even a day. You’ll likely find errors you overlooked before.
- Print it out: Seeing your text on paper can make it easier to identify typos and formatting issues. This can be especially helpful if you tend to get lost in the blue light of a screen.
- Use a grammar checker: Tools like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor can help identify basic grammar and punctuation errors. However, don’t rely solely on these tools – they can miss some mistakes and even suggest changes that weaken your writing.
- Ask a friend or colleague to proofread: Another set of eyes can be invaluable for catching errors and offering suggestions for improvement. Choose someone who has good grammar skills and understands the job you’re applying for.
A well-written cover letter enhances your job application by adding a personal touch and providing context to your resume. It’s an opportunity to make a strong first impression and convince the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job.