Many job seekers struggle with their cover letters, but writing a good cover letter is a skill that can be learned and perfected. The time and effort will pay off, because a well-written cover letter can increase your odds of getting an interview.
If you're wondering whether your cover letter is the best it can be, make sure you can answer "yes" to the questions on this checklist:
* Does your cover letter have a strong opening paragraph, communicating your job target and key strengths within the first few lines of text?
* Does your cover letter conform to a standard business letter format? (See our cover letter samples.)
* Is your cover letter addressed to a specific individual, if the name is available?
* Does the body of your cover letter express how you would benefit the employer if you were hired?
* Do you avoid starting every sentence with "I" or "my" so you can focus more on the employer's requirements and not your own?
* Do you demonstrate your expertise by using industry-specific language? * Do you include examples of your accomplishments so employers can see you have a proven track record?
* Is the content engaging and relevant to hiring managers' needs?
* Is the cover letter succinct, containing just enough information to entice the reader to review your resume?
* Did you include all information that was requested, such as a job reference number, employment availability date and salary requirements?
* Is the content unique? Did you avoid copying text from your resume verbatim?
* Does your cover letter sound genuine? Does it reflect your personality and make you seem likeable and approachable?
* Did you proofread your cover letter to ensure that it's free of spelling, grammar, syntax and formatting errors?
* Does the writing style and design coordinate with the resume, such as by using the same font and layout style?
* Did you provide an easy way for employers to contact you, such as a direct phone line and email address?
* Does your cover letter end with a call to action, confidently requesting an interview?
* Did you remember to sign your letter if you're mailing a hard copy?Show Full Article
© Copyright 2018 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
There is no better person to offer advice on writing a cover letter than the person who actually reads it on behalf of a company. We asked five employees with Hirepurpose companies what key information are they looking for when reviewing a cover letter.
Here’s what they said.
“Make sure to address company values, include key words showing past qualifications and experiences, originality and purpose. Too many cover letters look the same after viewing hundreds of them throughout the day. Make yours stand out.”
Takeaway: Make your cover letter unique. Don’t use the same generic template for every cover letter; tailor it to the job you’re applying for.
“To improve your chances of securing an interview, use cover letters as an extension of your resume and include key information to help hiring managers better gauge your knowledge and interest in their company and specific job. Ensure to include where you heard about the job; how your career objectives, education, training, and employment experiences align with the position you’re applying for; what excites you most about the opportunity; and your availability to start and relocate, if appropriate.”
Takeaway: Your cover letter shouldn’t just be about you, it should also be about what you can bring to the company and role you’re applying to.
Related: The one surefire way to have your job application ignored »
“For me, the traditional cover letter just needs to be a simple introduction to the person applying for the job. If the letter, or perhaps even first e-mail, is an easy opportunity for me to reply, that helps. Simple things like, phone number and e-mail address are key on every communication for busy people. Also highlight:
- What is the position of interest
- Primary skills to make job seeker stand out
- Someone that I can think to myself, ‘I see confidence in this person and believe he or she has what it takes to jump in and get the job done.’”
Takeaway: Make sure your cover letter includes the right information for a hiring manager to contact you. Use the cover letter to demonstrate you are professional, courteous, and confident.
“I don’t recommend using cover letters or at the very least sparingly. The truth is recruiters don’t read them. I’ve heard various stats on this, but the most common is a recruiter will spend roughly 5-10 seconds reviewing your resume. If you don’t catch their attention in that time, they will pass you by. I find that candidates spend all of their time on the cover letter and not their resume. Instead, spend your time adjusting your resume to speak to the role you’re applying for.”
Takeaway: Every company has a different policy when it comes to cover letters. Bottom line is that your cover letter should not outshine your resume.
“A cover letter helps us understand more about why someone is looking for a new career opportunity, the traits they value in a position and company, and the core competencies they possess and would bring to their work every day. A cover letter also helps to entice the reader to learn more and read their resume for more details.”
Takeaway: Some hiring managers use the cover letter to decide whether to read your resume, so make your cover letter engaging and personalized for every job you apply for.