Guest Author - Dianne Walker
The competition for a job is becoming more fierce every day. Employers virtually have their pick of potential applicants, many with the same job skills. This competition requires, not only that your resume stands out, but your cover letter needs to stand out in about 30 seconds and grab their attention. The important fact to remember about a stand out cover letter is that it should not simply be your resume, reworded, but a focal point to get the recruiter’s attention.
Here are some tips on what to include in your cover letter:
Remember it is a cover letter, not a book. Imagine the hiring manager has thousands of resumes and cover letters to read through to fill one position. They do not have time to read novels about your career path. Think of your cover letter as your thirty-second elevator speech and write it accordingly.
Keep the tone simple, yet professional. If you are trying to impress the hiring manager with how many big words you know – you may lose their interest. It is not necessary to use a thesaurus to write your cover letter (or resume). Keep the words and language, easy to scan. The cover letter should be a reflection of your personality, yet remain professional. It is not the time to practice a standup routine, nor be so stiff that you bore the reader. You will only have a few short lines to grab the recruiter’s attention; jokes, quotes and other irrelevant information will take up valuable cover letter space.
Don’t repeat yourself. Your resume will have all the details about your career path. The cover letter is a perfect venue to show the hiring manager the correlation between your skills and what the organization is looking for. You also have the opportunity to show you understand the company vision and values. You need to show how you can add value to the organization. Remember it is not about you, but what you can do for them.
Finally, pay attention to who you address the letter to. To whom it may concern or Dear Sir/Madam are impersonal ways to start a cover letter. The hiring manager will think that your cover letter is a template that you send to everyone. Do your best to find out the name of the hiring manager so you can personalize the letter. Once you find out the name, make sure you spell it correctly.
Keep in mind that not all employers may read your cover letter, but when they do, you want to make sure that your cover letter stands out.