The Cover Letter is the first piece of submitting your resume for a position. It is the first chance you get to make a positive first impression on the potential employer. In many cases, it is what makes the employer or Human Resources person want to read your resume.
The cover letter should showcase your personality, professionalism and of course your skills relevant to the position you are seeking. In addition, you should make sure that the tone and how you write the cover letter to a person offering yourself as a “solution” to their needs as outlined in their job description.
For example, I will do this________ (something they are looking for in the job description) and here is how________ (your skill or an example of you have successfully done it in the past).
- Make sure you quantify your skills, abilities and achievements by using percentages, numbers or dollars.
- Use bullet points. It is easier to read and highlights important and unique things about you to help you stand out.
- Don’t copy and paste the same points right out of your resume.
- Spell check and proofread your own Cover Letter and then have someone else read it over. Our mind often sees what it wants to see and knows what you want to say, therefore you risk overlooking missed words or incorrect spellings and uses of words if you don’t have someone else read it over for you.
- Make sure you sum up your Cover Letter with a “Call-To-Action.” This is a rule in the marketing world, and you are marketing yourself here. In this case, you have to tell the hiring manager why they need to read your resume and call you in for an interview. You could say something like, “I look forward to setting up an interview with you. Here is the best phone number to contact me at.”
- Make sure you address it to the right person. “Dear To Whom It May Concern, Dear Sir or Madam” is not going to cut it. You look like a person who is not detail oriented and look like you did not feel spending time finding the hiring managers name is important. If the name is not listed on the announcement or description, then use a Google search or LinkedIn to try to find it. Or, just pick up the phone and explain that you are getting ready to submit your resume and would like to know the name of the HR person or hiring manger. Make sure you get the correct spelling and make sure you know if it is a Mr. or Ms., as there are many names that can be for man or woman.
- Mention the company’s name and the position you are applying for. By mentioning the company’s name, it keeps your Cover Letter personalized to the company. If is important to mention the company’s name and even how you found the announcement in case there are multiple positions that they have open, plus it is that extra edge that shows you are serious and that you give attention to detail.
- Use keywords that are mentioned in the job announcement or do some research on what words are used in the industry position you are applying for. Make sure you don’t abbreviate too much and don’t use text lingo such as “LOL” “BTW.” And no smiley faces.