According to the statistics, employers take 5-10 seconds to scan each cover letter, which means you quickly need to give a good first impression. Some people use the same cover letter for every role they apply for, but this is a big mistake. Your cover letter is a great chance to differentiate yourself from the rest of the candidates, so embrace this opportunity to shine before they even pick up your resume.
If you follow these easy steps, you will write a cover letter that will catch your employer’s eye and will make them continue reading your resume.
1. Address the recruiter personally
You should always know who would be reading your cover letter and CV; it is imperative to approach the right person. Leave behind the old fashion “to whom it may concern,” as it can stop recruiters from reading one more line of your cover letter.
2. Do your research first
You need to investigate what the company does and any recent changes that may have occurred within the organization such as acquisitions, office moves, or team reorganizations. Once you know what they are up to, show evidence in your cover letter that you have researched the company, team or potential employer. You can mention something such as, “I’ve been following your company for a while and now that X team has grown, you may need someone to …”
3. Mention the position you are applying for
It may sound unnecessary from your point of view, but look at it from the recruiting manager’s perspective. They probably have more than one position available and telling them straight away what vacancy you are applying for will make their job easier. After mentioning the position, explain why you are interested. For example, “It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application to the role Z as I know my skills and qualifications will be a great asset to team Y.”
4. Focus on 2 or 3 skills
With the job description in front of you, highlight two or three examples of your capabilities and relate them to the particular position – this may be your education or professional experience. Express your potential with conviction, ask for an interview to elaborate on these ideas and show them why you are the right candidate for the job. Confidence is a critical skill that will help you get the job.
5. Use it to complement your resume
Your cover letter doesn’t need to be a recap of your resume, so do not repeat what is already in it. Instead, you can explain why areas of your resume are relevant to the person who is reading it and how your experience and expertise will help the particular company improve their results.
If you want to read more about how to nail your cover letter to make sure you land the job, Open Colleges has put together a guide on how to write a great cover letter with a very compelling list of things not to do.