COVER LETTER ESSENTIALS
There is great debate in regards to the significance of submitting a cover letter. Many job seekers have heard mixed reviews from recruiters and career professionals on the real value of a cover letter. However, there are many employers that still request cover letters and many have indicated in the job posting that they seeking “insightful” cover letters. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Tailor your cover letter
Do your research! Never use the same “generic” cover letter for each position you are applying for. Be sure to carefully read the keywords and specific qualifications that the employer is seeking. Highlight the main points from the job posting and integrate your skills, strengths, qualifications, and accomplishments as they relate to the employer’s main points. What does that employer value in an employee? Researching the company can go a long way when crafting a tailored cover letter.
Assess your professional brand
Why are you applying for this position? What skills, strengths and experience do you possess that qualify you for this position? Be sure you can make the connection for the employer. Remember that your cover letter is not a rehash of your resume. This is your opportunity to tell your professional story as it relates to the position. Use tangible examples!
Keep it short and sweet
Stick to the main points and refrain from going off on tangents. Your cover letter should not exceed more than a page. Break down your cover letter into 3 – 4 paragraphs. Keep the paragraphs short to avoid overwhelming the reader.
Use action statements
Refrain from using “responsible for”. Take ownership of your contributions and use strong action verbs throughout your cover letter.
Always ask for an interview!
You have taken so much time in making your case to the employer to why you are a strong fit for the position. Take the initiative and ask for the interview in your closing paragraph. Be sure to reiterate your contact information.
COVER LETTER CHECKLIST:
- Include your name and contact information. Your cover letter format (header) should be consistent with your resume.
- Proof read your cover letter. Is the employer’s name spelled correctly? Have you addressed them properly? (Mr. Ms. Dr.).
- Does your cover letter showcase how you will bring value to the organization? Have you used examples to show evidence of how you have contributed to previous employers?
- Is the tone of the cover letter positive? Will the reader capture your enthusiasm for the position and field of work?
- Are you initiating an interview?
- Be sure to proof read for errors. Have more than one person review your final product.