Best Practices for Top-notch Cover Letters
When you’re on the job hunt, it usually seems like the hardest part is getting your resume just right. And while that is really important, we have to break it to you – there’s more. Have you written your cover letter yet?
If not, don’t sweat it. The best cover letters are tailored for each job you’re applying to, anyway. The difficulty lies in selling yourself and your capabilities in just a few short paragraphs without going overboard, sounding overconfident, or, on the opposite end of the scale, coming off as someone who is too timid to take on the grittier tasks that come with every job. But that’s where these helpful hints come in handy! Stick to these, and you’ll have a winning cover letter in no time.
Know your audience
No one likes getting a form letter – why should your future boss be any different? So, when you’re writing a cover letter, make sure that you customize it from greeting to closing. Include the hiring manager’s name in the salutation if at all possible, and try to drop the company in there every so often.
And even beyond that, every company has its own identity and branding. It shows that you’re on board with its messaging and overall persona if you can insert an authentic and similar vibe in your cover letter. For example, if you apply to an outdoor supply company that uses humor in its material and a laidback tone, you might want to take the corporate feel out of your cover letter and go for something slightly more casual.
Things can get lost in translation on paper, but one thing does ring true: whether someone is just spelling out what the boss wants to hear or not. When you write your cover letter, avoid clichés or any gushing statements. You know the ones – false praise or humility is easy to spot, and the hiring managers will notice it in an instant. Instead, be upfront and honest about not only your abilities and strengths, but also what it is that you respect about the company. What made you apply for the job in the first place? That, more than anything, is what will make you stand out among the other applicants.
Dig deeper than your resume
If an employer asks for a cover letter in addition to your resume, then he or she definitely doesn’t want to read two of the same thing. Leave the list of all your past jobs and skill sets to the resume, and try beefing up your cover letter with something a little more personal. What kind of values do you look for in your workplaces? What about this company or industry speaks to you? What do you hope to accomplish in your new role? And finally, what do you think you will be able to do that will make the company itself a better, more successful place?
Need a fresh set of eyes on your cover letter? Contact our expert and get the counseling that will help you succeed!