Everyone dreads having to write a cover letter. You sit down ready, take a look at examples of the best cover letters online, find yourself overwhelmed, and think something along the lines of; Do people actually read these? Wouldn’t letting my resume do the talking for me be better? Do I really need to do this?
We can tell you that people definitely read your cover letters. Some hiring managers actually consider them one of the most important parts of any application. If you only relied on your resume you wouldn’t have the chance to tell a prospective employer more about who you are, why you are the best fit for the job, and stand out from the crowd of other applicants. That’s the power of a cover letter.
With that said, here are 8 tips on how to write a cover letter.
1. Go Above and Beyond Resumes
Don’t just repeat what you put in your resume with your cover letter. Rather, use it to offer some additional details that wouldn’t have fit into the single page of a resume. Don’t just say that you were in charge of managing invoice disputes, explain what skills this gave you; such as better analytical skills and the ability to interact with angry customers in a diplomatic and friendly way. Cover letters offer you the chance to use complete sentences – rather than bullet points – so be sure to use them to expand on what your resume says and tell the full story of why you would be a great fit.
2. Showcase What you can Do
Outside of explaining your past accomplishments, you should also show a hiring manager what you can offer towards the future. Determine the main priorities and requirements for the job being applied for, and make it clear to an interviewer that you are able to deliver on these key points. Consider putting together a section of the cover letter that covers what you, specifically, can bring to the role.
3. Show Off Your Skills
If you know you’ve got what it takes to do the job, but your past experiences don’t sell you as an ideal fit for the job, then focus the letter on your skills.
4. Education Isn’t Important
Lots of people – particularly new grads – make the simple mistake of focusing too much on their education. When it’s all said and done, a hiring manager cares more about work experience – and that includes voluntary work experience – and rely on that you’ll be able to deliver when it’s go time.
5. Don’t Apologize if You’re Lacking Skills
Another mistake is apologizing for a lack of skills. Job seekers will commonly say things like “despite having limited experience…” or “even though I’ve only worked as an administrator…” Why should you apologize for something like that? Don’t draw attention to what you’re weak at. Focus the letter around the skills that you possess rather than the ones you’re lacking. Keep the letter positive and talk about transferable skills and your enthusiasm for the job.
6. Highlight the Right Experiences
If you aren’t sure what the right experiences to focus on are, then take the job description and put it in a word cloud tool such as Wordle. This displays the words that appear the most, which gives you a good idea of what the hiring manager wants to see. Focus the letter around those skills.
7. Use Some Numbers
Numbers can speak louder than words with job searches. Use stats to illustrate the impact you had on a company or association. Employers love seeing the real numbers behind something. It lets them know that you’re speaking their language and that you understand what matters most to them; getting results.
8. Customize Your Cover Letter
A company wants to see you’re really excited about working for them in that role. That means crafting custom cover letters for every position you apply for. A recruiter can tell when you’re using a stock cover letter and they won’t be happy about it. They’ll likely just throw it straight in the trash, and you’ll never hear from them again.
I hope you liked these tips on how to write a cover letter. If you know more tips, add them in the comments below.