The cover letter is not a formality. It is your first chance to stand out among those you’re vying with for a job. Employers do not look at your resume first; they look at your cover letter first, and that’s where you give them your fist impression.
So how do you make a good first impression through your cover letter? Here are some tips.
• The most important thing you can do is research the employing company, large or small, before you begin your cover letter. That’s the best way to show both interest and compatibility. You can use online research and databases, or you can talk to someone in the company. You should be looking for what kinds of projects they are engaged in, what their statements and announcements are, and if they have made recent acquisitions.
• Of course, you want to show you like what the company stands for, but don’t focus on what you like about the company. Focus, instead, on what you can do for the company. Also, don’t focus on what the company can do for you, like pay you well or locate you in your geographical preferences. Rather, stay away from “I” statements and explain how you will work for them.
• Don’t repeat what is in your resume. The resume should stand for itself, and will come later. Dazzle with special projects you have completed that will help you be a better employee for them, new ideas about working for them, or special soft skills you can offer the company.
• Make your cover letter stand out. You are competing with other applicants. Your cover letter needs to be different to distinguish you from the pack.
1. Don’t use a template; others will to.
2. Write each of your letters to the specific audience you identify in your preparation research.
3. Write correctly, but not robotically. Show your personality with small flourishes.
Good luck with your job hunting. The process is not too unlike what you have already been through applying to colleges. Yes, it’s that much work!