Help! I Need to Write a Cover Letter!
You have revised your resume countless times and you know it is impressive. But what about the cover letter?
The cover letter is one of most stressful parts of getting an employer to notice you and your resume. The goals of your cover letter are:
- Engage the employer in the most professional manner into noticing you.
- Tell the employer what makes you a candidate worth interviewing
The cover letter, if done right, can get you to the next stage. So, what makes a winning cover letter?
5 Tips for Writing a Resume Cover Letter
1. Address Your Cover Letter: Avoid the Generic
Too many times, cover letters contain the basic greeting “To Whom It May Concern.” This is unimaginative and anonymous. Do you even know this is going to the person who can make a good decision for you? Take some time and do some research.
Find out where to send the resume and who is in charge of filtering your application.If you address your letter to that person, you will already be ahead of the “To Whom It May Concern” crowd. With this approach, you are showing initiative in tracking down the department and the person in charge.
If you cannot find out the name, then simply state, “Dear Hiring Manager” and put the particular job you are looking for as a heading such as Re: Position for Executive Assistant.
This is a tricky thing to navigate. You want to attract the employer’s attention but you do not want to be too creative or sound arrogant.
In the past, I have seen cover letters that include statements such as: “I am the best candidate for this position” or “Look no further than me for this job.” These statements types can sound unprofessional or even arrogant; They can also suggest you may be a problem when it comes to training, coaching and teamwork.
You want to be straightforward and professional. You should open up stating the obvious: “Please accept this cover letter and resume as application for the XYZ position currently opened with XYZ. “ Then you can state who you are currently working for and why you are looking to apply for this job.
3. Key Words
Due to technology, use of key words has become more important. Use appropriate terminology to describe your experience and skills, but don’t try to frontload your letter with every keyword you think the employer wants to hear. Just try to be yourself. Describe your talents and experience and do not waste anyone’s time.
4. Points of Interest
What makes you the best candidate for this job? What are you bringing to the table? This is where you want to include about six or seven bullet points regarding your attributes and qualifications that will establish you to be the candidate of choice for an upcoming interview. Such as:
- Recognized for managing multiple concurrent projects
- Track record in supporting the efforts of executive-level staff, including presidents, and senior management
- Inclusive problem-solving skills including analysis, troubleshooting, reporting and follow up.
Using bullet points allows you to share rich information without having to explain everything in long-winded paragraphs. If you have flattering performance metrics you can share about your previous experiences, this is great place to share them!
5. Closing (aka: “Sell Yourself!}
End your letter with a general closing statement, such as: “In closing, I believe an interview may assist you in exploring my qualifications and experience further. Thank you for your time and consideration.” Be precise and to the point.
You may use this opportunity to “sell yourself” if you have one final closing thought you’d like to leave in the hiring manager’s mind. But keep in mind these guidelines: Be yourself. Do not be repetitive. Do not beg or plead. And do not repeat all your contact information.
Your cover letter is complete!
There is probably so much more you want to include, but remember, “Less is more.”
Your cover letter should include just enough to whet their appetite. Remember, your resume has additional information and, if you are brought in for an interview, you have a chance to give the employee even more!
Till next time…happy writing!