In a previous post I emphasized the importance of cover letters as part of every jobsearch package. As a follow-up, here are some tips for those of you struggling to compile a winning cover letter of your very own. Follow these simple suggestions to help you get on the ‘write’ path with cover letter creation.
First, keep front of mind that the cover letter’s main purpose is to connect with the reader and persuade them to read your attached resume. Cover letters also provide you with an opportunity to express yourself (yes, employers are going to analyze your cover letter to see how well you put your thoughts on paper and market your skills and qualifications in a written format), so never doubt the power of this one page document. Write clearly and formally, include enthusiasm for the targeted position, and focus your thoughts and ideas around what the reader wants. Also ensure you:
1. Write each cover letter in a formal business letter format. If you are uncertain about this means – take the time to research it! It will be very obvious to the reader/employer when this format has not been used, and it will not bode well. You can stick to the traditional format, or employ a modern enote approach by writing with more brevity.
2. Stay away from weak words or phrases. Writing things like: “I think” or “I feel” are passive statements. You want to entice the reader with your confident qualifications so use statements more along the lines of: “I am certain” or “My proven results…”.
3. Keep the cover letter to one page in length and don’t feel like you have to use every inch of space. Think: quality of information over quantity!
4. Tailor each cover letter to the position you are applying for. A generic cover letter will not cut it! You want to provide examples of the specific skills that relate to the targeted role and prove to the employer that you have what it takes to perform well in their role.
5. Avoid coming across self centered. Minimize the use of hte word “I” throughout, most notably at the start of each new sentence or paragraph – as this really stands out and starts to sound awfully repetitive. Instead, address the employer’s needs and mix up your sentence starts for greater impact.
6. Finally, do not forget to sign your letter if you are supplying a hard copy!