Cover letters can be very helpful tools in your job applications—they provide context to your resume and can give you an opportunity to explain any unique circumstances that don’t otherwise come across. Cover letters aren’t hard to write...if you know how to write them. Here are five tips that will help you craft the perfect cover letter:
1. Keep it short. Recruiters are busy people – they don’t have time to read long cover letters. Get your point across clearly and concisely and keep your cover letter to half a page or less.
2. Avoid sounding like a robot. Write in a professional yet conversational manner, as if you were explaining to a friend why you want to work at this company. And don’t use the same cover letter for every application.
3. Tailor your cover letter to the posting. Each role and company has something that differentiates it from others – what specifically draws you to this particular position? And why are you uniquely qualified for this role? If you’re having a hard time answering either of these questions, you may want to reconsider your application — this may not be the perfect job for you.
4. Include only the most relevant pieces of information. Look at the posting and highlight the key skills you have that match the qualifications that are listed. Sure, you have other skills that might be impressive, but save those for your resume or an interview.
5. Focus on what you can do for the company, not the other way around. Although you should briefly express why you’re interested in a company on a personal level somewhere in your cover letter, the majority of the letter should demonstrate what you have to offer the company. Spend time outlining your main qualifications instead of going on and on about your passions.
Remember: Simpler is always better when it comes to a cover letter. Think of it as an elevator pitch — if you can get the basics of who you are and what you’re looking for across, a hiring manager will easily be able to decide if it’s worthwhile to consider you as a serious candidate.
--Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan