A great cover letter can help your job application to stand out from the crowd – whether it’s for all the right reasons is really up to you. Even if you have the best, all singing and all dancing resume the lack of a good cover letter can really let you down. Unfortunately too many cover letters follow the same formula – they simply repeat the information which has been included in your resume. Take a look at your cover letter and see if it interests you. Does it excite you? Does it make you want to meet the person who wrote it?
The answer to both questions is – probably not.
Here are a few tips to help you write a great cover letter and stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
1 – Don’t just repeat the information you’ve put on your resume. A covering letter should not be a copy of your resume in a different format. The chances are that the hiring manager will have copies of your resume and covering letter stapled together so why do they need to know the same information twice?
Use it as an opportunity to let your personality shine through, an interest in the field you are applying to work in and a little curiosity. If you’re applying for a job in the fashion industry why not discuss a little about how much things have changed since the 1980’s? Just make it interesting and make it different.
2 – Less is more. Your cover letter should not be pages long, all you need are three paragraphs covering no more than a half page. Never mind a lengthy exposition – keep it short and juicy.
3 – Skip the address unless you know who you are addressing. There’s really no need to start with the old “whom it may concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager” lines – just dive straight into the main body of your letter. If you don’t know who to address your letter to then you can’t address it to anybody can you?
4 – Send a cover letter in PDF format. Not all offices have the technology to read .pages or .docx files but just about every computer can convert a PDF without worrying about conversion. File conversions can create two problems – on the one hand the prospective employee may not be bothered to convert your file and simply move on to the next candidate and on the other hand some conversions can create formatting errors. Both of these scenarios are bad news for your job application.
5 – Never use this phrase – “Hello, I am called ____ and I would like to apply for the position of ____ ” – they kind of know that already. Making such obvious mistakes as these make you appear to be very unprofessional and inexperienced. The cover letter is your opportunity to give a little of the “wow factor” to your application so be careful that it doesn’t give the “snooze factor” by mistake.
6 – The closer is of the ultimate importance. We’ve already said to keep it short and juicy; well a big finish is vital. Finish off your letter quickly by explaining exactly how your worldview / experience / personality / work ethics help to make you the perfect candidate for the job. That’s all you have to do – close your covering letter in a big way which leaves the hiring manager curious to find out more about you. It’s much better than merely rambling on and on about the same old stuff.
Follow these few tips and you’ll be sure to have a cover letter with the “wow factor” which complements rather than merely copies your resume. For several other tips you can also check the video below (it is not ours).
All the best!