Let’s Talk Cover Letters
Searching for a job is stressful. You want to find a job that suits your talents, will make you happy, and provide you with a salary and benefits that will help move your forward in life.
You spend some time talking with all of your contacts to see what’s out there. You browse LinkedIn and see what jobs are available. You even scan the classifieds. And then you find it! Your ideal job! The job you really want!
Of course, you need to send in a cover letter and resume. But maybe it’s been a while since you’ve updated yours. So, it’s time to create a cover letter and resume that highlights you and your skills and gets you the job!
Let’s talk about the cover letter!
Your Cover Letter
How do you feel about cover letters? Do you dread writing them? That’s understandable, but they do serve a purpose. A cover letter is your first introduction to a prospective employer. And yes, they do read them.
But what needs to be in your cover letter?
- Your Contact Info – Name, address, phone number, email, and perhaps your LinkedIn profile information are all essential information to include.
- Salutation – If you know who the letter is going to – then address them by name. If not, try using something like “Account Representative Hiring Manager” or “Systems Analyst Search Committee.” If you can avoid “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” – that is preferable.
- Highlight You and Your Qualifications – How Your Experience and Skills Meet the Necessary Qualifications – You probably have a good idea of what the company is looking for, so be sure to showcase how you and your qualifications match their needs. Try to use this section to share something that may not be included in your resume.
- Closing – Call-to-Action – You want to end your letter with a call-to-action. A simple “I look forward to discussing my qualifications with you and learning more about XX Company” is a great way to close.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind About With Your Cover Letter
Now that you’ve written a rough draft of your cover letter, it’s time to give it a good edit. Keep these things in mind as you finalize it.
- Make Sure It Highlights the Right Skills and Experiences – It can be tempting to try and share it all, but avoid doing that. Highlight the skills and experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
- You Can Avoid Talking About Your Education – Sure, you went to a great university, but it doesn’t need to be brought up in your cover letter.
- Don’t Bring Up Skills You May Be Missing – You may not have ALL of the skills needed for the job, but you don’t need to bring it up in your cover letter. Stick with the things you can do for this job.
- Share Some Stats – If you currently have a position where you have financial responsibilities or personnel responsibilities, share some statistics in your letter (for example, the amount you have grown the business or the number of people who report to you). Hiring managers love stats!
- Make Sure Your Tone Matches the Company – Your cover letter should be written in a tone that matches the company. If the company is more casual, your letter can be, too. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution and keep it formal.
- Keep It Short – A cover letter does not need to be lengthy. Share what you need to share and close out your letter.
- Finish Strong – In addition to a call-to-action, you may want to share a bit more about why you want to work here. Something like, “XX Company has values that align with mine, and I would love to share my skills with like-minded people.”
- Proofread Again – Check for mistakes and then have someone else with fresh eyes do it for you, too.
While you may think your resume is the key to getting you in the door for an interview – don’t forget about the importance of a great cover letter. Spend some time making sure yours is excellent!