Are you putting the same effort into your cover letter as you are your resume?
If not, you should be! Without a great cover letter, you could be missing out on standing out from the crowd as far as job applicants go. To make your job hunt easier and more effective, we have put together key points from a recruiter’s perspective on how to write a great cover letter.
In this article, we discuss:
- Understanding whom to address the cover letter to.
- How to make your cover letter flow through keywords and language.
- How to create an outcome-focused cover letter.
- What will compel the other person to read your whole cover letter?
- Understanding why your cover letter is not a copy of your resume.
Cover letters are often an afterthought with job seekers focusing their energy more on their resumes. If you are not well versed in selling yourself, finding the right talking points can be challenging. Often leading to cover letters that are generic or recycled from templates online. One important takeaway in writing any cover letter is to remember that whilst the resume is self-focused, the cover letter should involve you making the employer feel special or unique.
A cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to a potential employer and spark their interest in reading your resume which requires a point of difference from the other stack of applicants they are sifting through. Make your first goal telling the employer you have eyes on them specifically and they are not just another job application click on LinkedIn Jobs. Once you have triggered their interest, it is a matter of selling the value you will offer their organisation or role.
Start by building yourself into the conversation by creating a shared narrative. “I resonate with your company tagline (insert tagline) on your website, as I have/feel….” With your second paragraph, you are now building yourself into their company and sharing in their vision.
From there, you can cover some more traditional points when writing your cover letter. From a recruiter’s perspective, there are key elements employers look for which that will share with you so you can learn how to write a great cover letter.
Know your point of contact and whom to address your application to.
Anytime you find a job ad there should always be a mention of a point of contact. Ensure you address this person and ensure you address them using their title. Example: Sir, Madam, Dr, Professor.
Speak the person’s language.
Being that you are writing it to a specific person, take time to understand their language. This means using the terms, which that person already knows e.g., keywords from their advert or job advertisement. This will make your cover letter resonate with the reader. Using keywords connected to the job position will gauge their attention and help your cover to read that you know the job role requirements and are not just applying for everything with the same cover.
Be more outcome-focused.
People often focus on the process of their career journey rather than the outcome of what has been achieved. For example, instead of saying that ‘I have knowledge in managed services,’ you should say ‘my 6-year experience working with MSPs has seen me manage a myriad of operational tasks that have been critical to the success of many small to medium-sized businesses.’
Make it interesting for the reader.
What will compel the other person to read your whole cover letter? Ensure every word flows from one to another and does not bulk it out with unnecessary filler.
Keep it one page.
Speaking of filler, keeping your cover to one page is enough. People are busy and chances are, your cover is not the only one sitting in their email. Keep it to one page and write in simple-to-understand language. Do not use a sentence longer than two lines.
Make sure you proofread your cover.
Ensuring that your letter is free from typos and grammatical errors is important and something that will be picked up within the first few sentences.
Remember that your cover letter is NOT a copy of your resume.
Remember where we said earlier that your resume is only about you and a cover letter focuses on the role and company you are applying for? Utilise your cover as a space where you can link your profile with that of the advertised position.
Make the judgment call on how much you talk about yourself and keep it relevant to the advertised role.
To close things up, provide a quick recap and look to set up a connection. “Your vision within the IT Industry aligns with my own future goals. I would welcome the opportunity for an interview. You can reach me at xxx.xxx.xxxx.”
Good Luck in your job search, and should you need help in connecting with the right role, contact us.