So you’ve written an amazing resume. You’ve properly summed up your past experience, expertly conveyed what your skills are, and your objective statement is second-to-none. Now what? Cover letter writing.
We hate to break it to you, but you can’t avoid the dreaded cover letter—the thing that causes just about every job applicant to shake in their boots. “What do I put in there?” “Is it just a different way of saying what’s already on my resume?” “Who do I even address it to?” These are some of the many questions job applicants have been asking themselves over the years.
To help you get through your job search a little bit easier, we’ve decided to go over our 8 cover letter writing tips that will wow the hiring manager.
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Does Cover Letter Writing Even Matter Anymore?
Sure, we’ve gotten to the point in our society where writing anything longer than 280-characters seems like an arduous task, but writing a cover letter is still a very important thing! Cover letters most definitely matter—most notably for scenarios where a recruiter or someone else hasn’t recommended you to the hiring manager.
Furthermore, many hiring managers have lamented the low quality of cover letters they usually get. As such, if you can put together something that truly sounds amazing, you will have a huge leg-up on your competition.
With that out of the way, here are our 7 cover letter writing tips:
1. Going boilerplate is how you end up in the trash
Sounds obvious, right? Wrong! Many job applicants feel like they can use the same cover letter over and over again for job application after job application. Hiring managers can easily pinpoint a cover letter that’s meant for dozens of different companies, so this is the easiest way to get your application thrown in the trash.
Make sure you tailor your cover letter to the company you’re applying to. Talk about why their industry is one you want to be in, what about their particular company seems to speak to you, and more. When you personalize your cover letter, it shows a willingness to go the extra step and hiring managers really like that.
2. Get a direct contact at the company
The best way to ensure that your application will get looked at carefully is if you have a contact at the company. Don’t send your resume and cover letter to a generic “firstname.lastname@example.org,” find out who the hiring manager is or someone else who has a lot of pull at the company and email them!
Best of all, if you have a contact at the company, you’ll know exactly who to address the letter to. Now you’ve killed two birds with one stone!
3. Make sure your lead is spectacular
This may sound obvious, but you’ve got to start with a bang. Don’t go with something like “Hello, my name is John/Jane and I’m applying for ___.” That’s boring and you will have immediately lost the hiring manager’s attention.
Instead, try to go with something that’s creative and memorable. Explain why you have a personal connection to the industry/company you’re trying to get into. Make them realize that you really care!
4. Say what you bring to the table
Our 4th cover letter writing tip, this one might be the most important. You’ve got to tell the company what you’re going to do for them. In other words, what can they expect of you when you walk in the door that first day?
On your resume, you probably put things like “I sold 10,000 units during a downturn in the economy.” Instead of repeating those lines on your cover letter, try something slightly different like: “I will use my past successes as a blueprint for doubling your sales within 18 months.” When the hiring manager sees “past successes,” they’ll immediately want to read the details on your resume.
5. Let some of your personality through
This might be hard to believe, but not ever cover letter has to be so dry and boring. Don’t be afraid to use a tone that’s a little conversational and contains parts of your personality.
We’re not saying to go out there and write a full comedy routine, but try to gauge what the personality of the company is and tailor your tone to that. If you’re trying to work at an accounting firm, maybe play it cool. But, if you’re going to work for a trendy ad firm, then don’t be afraid to let your true self out.
6. Get to the point
We’ll follow our own advice here and get to the point. Don’t go off on tangents, don’t meander on about what you want, and don’t waste your or the hiring manager’s time. Be concise, stay focused on what the reader needs to learn about you and get to the point!
7. Avoid cliches like The Plague
This might be one of the biggest mistakes people make on their cover letters: they riddle them with cliches. So, you’ve got a “proven track record” of “results-driven work” that makes you “uniquely qualified for this position,” huh? Cool. So does everybody else. You know why? Because you’ve just thrown out some of the biggest cliches in the book.
Stay away from cliches and focus more on getting the reader’s attention and addressing their needs.
8. Put in a call-to-action (CTA)
You now have the greatest cover letter ever written, but there’s just one more thing you need to do. Put in a call-to-action!
Tell the hiring manager what you plan on doing and what you want them to do. You could say something like “I will follow up with you in one week” or “if there are any further questions you may have for me, you can connect with me here.”
You’ve wowed the socks off the hiring manager, so you better tell them what they need to do next!
For more information on how you can ace the job search process, head over to our contact page and take your next big step today!