When sending out your job application, there are cases where you are not asked to send a clear photograph of yourself. In such a case, your first impression to potential employers is your cover letter. A cover letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview or having your resume ignored (don’t you just hate it when this happens?). Therefore it is important to put in the time and effort to writing an effective cover letter. This means carefully reading the job description in the job listing, evaluating the skills required and thinking of instances where you applied those skills and eventually relating them to how you would be effective in the position available.
Here are some cover letter secrets that you ought to know to get ahead in the game.
- Always send a customized cover letter for each application you submit. Mention which job you are applying for. Mention how you got to hear about the job (mention a referral if you have one).
- Make sure that you connect the skills and experiences that are required on the job description to your actual skills and experiences.
- Your cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume.
- Get right to the point. 3-4 paragraphs with 3-4 sentences each.
- Send as a PDF file.
- Have a catchy introduction to make sure that your potential employer keeps reading and keeps you number one on their mind.
- Your cover letter should show that you have done research about what the company does and how you can help them or contribute towards their success (for example: cut costs or increase profits).
- Discuss your soft skills and strengths and what makes you passionate about your career and the job you are applying for.
- Compliment the organization on what they have done right and what you admire about them. Complete the statement “I like your organization because…”
- Show your enthusiasm! Do not be boring and make them want to fall asleep! You can keep it conversational and show your personality off.
Cover letters usually accompany resumes. Even if the organization does not ask for one, you may include one anyway. You do not need to include any personal information or salary expectations at this point (unless it is a requirement). If you have questions about the job, schedule or benefits then this is not the right time to bring it up. Keep it concise! If you write too much, it is probably going to be ignored!
With these key points in mind, look out for our Step-by-Step guide to writing an effective cover letter. Make your Cover Letter Count!