Are you ready to join the workforce? Job applicants dread the idea of sending hundreds of resumes and only get one or two interview invitations. With high volume of applicants, most recruiters only allow themselves less than a minute to check your application. If your resume is not thoroughly read, there is a slim chance of getting a job.
Resumes help you get the job, but it is the cover letter that gets their attention to be interested to your application. Also known as letter of application, many jobseekers underestimate the power of cover letters. Some even do not include a cover letter in their applications.
When an applying for a job, your resume must be accompanied by a well-written cover letter. If you nail your cover letter, you automatically stand out from other applicants.
So how do you do it? Here’s how:
Properly Address Your Cover Letter
The standard address is “ Dear Sir/Madam” but it sounds too generic. When applying for a job, ask for the contact person. To whom should you address your application? When you address the person “directly”, it will catch their attention and will be pleased to read your cover letter and your resume.
Start with “ Dear Mr. Dale Thomas” and within and the end the letter, you address “ Mr. Thomas”. This makes your letter more personal and gives them a good impression on you. Proper address will make them interested to meet you in person – the interview.
A cover letter should introduce yourself as an interested job seeker. State your name and your intention in one sentence. Remember that cover letter should be brief yet concise. This is an example,
“ My name is Zoe Smith and I would to be considered for the position of Area Sales Manager”.
Again, keep it short and be direct to the point. Do not go around the bush or else you lose the interest of the reader.
Highlight Your Experience or Skills
Your cover letter should quickly summarize your experiences and skills. You may be asking, “ Isn’t it the purpose of the resume?”, but this is a significant content in every cover letter. Say in one to two sentences introducing the details of your abilities found in your resume.
This part of the cover letter will entice the reader to flip the page and check your resume. Start the number of years of your experience. Here is an example,
“ I have more than five years of writing experience and published my works in top publications like The New York Times and Travel + Leisure”.
For entry-level jobs, mention your internships and other experiences. The key here is to match your skills with their need.
Express Some Knowledge About the Company
Do some research about the company and if you have some personal connections to the company, mention it. Are you a loyal patron of the company’s products and services? Have you encountered the company in a student conference or trips that piqued your interest to join them?
Telling them that you are familiar with the company only shows your desire not just for the job but also to be a part of the company, making you a great potential employee.
End with an invitation
Towards the end of the cover letter, use a call of action for the reader to proceed checking resume. One example is “ Attached is my updated resume..”
Inform of your desire to meet personally or to get interviewed. You can state, “ I am available for interview anytime and willing to travel to your head office.”
You see, it not hard to craft effective cover letters that will help you get interviewed and eventually get hired. Here are more tips that you should remember in making your cover letter:
Keep it short
For both cover letter and resume, it should be short as possible. A cover letter should only be written in a single page. Remember this is an introduction; all details should be covered by your resume.
Receiving plenty of job applications, recruiters don’t have the luxury of time to read your long and heavily narrated cover letter.
Write one cover letter per job application
The worse thing a job applicant can do is to send a generic cover letter in every application. HR people hate this; it means you are not interested working for the company and only wants a paycheck.
You can easily beat competitors when you personalize your cover letter starting with how you address them and mentioning their company in your cover letter’s content.
Keep the tone mature yet light
Hiring committees will know your personality based on your cover letter. By writing in a mature manner yet keeping it light, shows that you are effective employee yet fun to be with and easy to work with colleagues. Your tone gives a glimpse on how you carry yourself in a business setting.
Use simple words
We want to impress but do not overdo it with using difficult words. Keep it simple. Avoid jargons. When you use difficult words, you come across as over pretentious.
Boost your resume with a well-written cover letter. Get the job by spending time writing an effective cover letter to accompany your resume. Keep in mind that you get your future employee’s attention with your cover letter.