Writing a Great Cover Letter
Writing a great cover letter is just as important as writing a good resume. Your cover letter is the first document a prospective employer will read. Therefore, it must catch their attention and entice them into reviewing your resume. You must remember that a prospective employer most likely gets many applicants daily, and you must set yourself above the rest in any way you can. We’ve provided a few tips we believe will help you stand out and get noticed.
A cover letter should contain a few paragraphs describing your skills and some experience. This is a prelude to your resume, so be brief but factual. Make sure you spell check first, and be sure to use correct grammar.
Do not write a book.
Your cover letter must describe your skills and abilities without becoming overwhelming. Write about how you believe your skills would be beneficial in fulfilling the position. Please make sure you use the correct terminology when describing technical skills and try to use industry buzz-words where appropriate. Always remember this is an appetizer to your resume and must be written as such.
Write a separate cover letter for each position.
Using a standard cover letter and replacing the name and company might save some time, but if you forget to make one change it will land you in the trash. Prospective employers have had hiring experience and most likely know how to spot “cookie-cutter” cover letters and resumes. Creating a new cover letter for the position shows enthusiasm and will allow you to focus your objective to the exact position.
Understand what the employer is looking for.
Read the job description carefully before writing your cover letter. Many times, the employer is looking for specific skills, if you mention these in your cover letter they might review your resume. The employer might also request salary requirements or some other employee-related information, if these are not provided many will simply discard the resume. It is important to understand and deliver whatever the employer is requesting. It doesn’t matter how great your resume is if they discard it because you cannot follow instructions.
Research the company and position.
Typically, you can learn a great deal about a company from their website. Research the company and position to aid you in writing your cover letter. Try to describe your skills as they would apply to their industry.
Worry about the content, not the paper.
In our age of electronic data, the paper your resume and cover letter is actually printed on is becoming less significant. Many large companies are using scanners to convert paper resumes and cover letters to electronic format. They can then scan for keywords and send them within their organization easier. If the company does request a paper resume, be sure to print the cover letter on the same paper. This gives a much more professional look.