The average corporate job opening brings in 250 resumes. The recruiter has little time to sort through them and choose a handful of worthy candidates to interview. Most resumes have a very similar format; so how can the recruiter decide who stays and who goes? A strong cover letter stands out of the pile like a diamond in the dirt. Use these tips to create the strongest cover letter possible for your next job.
What Makes a Strong Cover Letter?
Know Your Purpose
Think of your cover letter like a sales letter with a strong purpose: selling yourself. Now is your chance to convey all of the reasons why you deserve the position. Let your focus, work ethic, goals, and imagination shine through your cover letter and the recruiter will take notice.
One way to do this is to be personal. No doubt, your resume is perfect; littered with awards, certifications, achievements and strengths. Then again, so is every other applicant’s. Your cover letter, on the other hand, is a great opportunity for a recruiter to get to know you.
Don’t be afraid to step out of the robotic “professional” vernacular that plagues the average cover letter. Avoid the use of the generic sentences such as:
“Dear Mr. or Ms. Last Name,
I am and I am applying for the position.”
Truthfully, the recruiter knows all of this information. Repeating it back to them is certain to make them bored before they can read all of the great reasons to hire you.
A great way to personalize your cover letter is to keep your writing style similar to the way you speak. If you don’t use certain words in your regular speech, why write with them? Your personality will impress the recruiter, not your vocabulary. Use this brief opportunity to convey your personal ambitions, the enthusiasm you have for what you do, and the creativity that fuels every aspect of your life.
For example, if you recently received an additional certification which will be of benefit in the position you are applying for; find a way to include that while still remaining personal.
“I was really excited to see that your training program is completed underwater. I recently received my scuba certification to keep myself active; and am glad to know I will put that to good use in this position.”
While most corporate jobs will not include underwater training, the principle remains the same. Just as you find ways the position fits you; you should find ways to express how your personality and skills are the best fit for the position.
Cover Your Strengths
When drafting your cover letter, consider strong points from your resume that you can highlight as benefits to the company. But be sure they are only highlights of your resume. From the recruiter’s perspective, the only thing worse than reading another resume is reading it twice.
It also helps to leave out the unnecessary details from your cover letter. For example, a recruiter may want to know which prominent business you’ve worked for or teams you have managed; but will likely have no care for your ability to play guitar. There are many other ways to inject your amazing personality into your cover letter while still remaining professional.
This tip is pretty self-explanatory. A two page, single-spaced cover letter will be rapidly skimmed, or worse, skipped. Cut your cover letter down to a half a page, using full line breaks between small paragraphs. This makes your cover letter much more readable; and as simple as it seems, readable letters get read.
The recruiter wants to see that you are confident in your abilities to fulfill the job. Wrap up your letter by stating the number one reason the recruiter needs to call you in for an interview. Be assertive, but don’t
be obnoxious. “I’m the best at ” will likely not get you the interview, but, “I will help your company achieve ” can make them remember you. This leaves a lasting impression of your strong personality, and can influence the recruiter’s decision when the time comes.
Use these steps to set yourself you apart from the crowd when creating your next cover letter; and take your career to new heights with KnowledgeCity. We have over 9,000 video tutorials in Business, Computer Software and Safety Compliance. Stay a step ahead of the competition by completing our Business Etiquette and Professionalism and Building Your Resume courses. Try it free.