Most jobseekers I speak with hate writing cover letters even more than resumes. Many ask if they really need to send one. My answer? “Only if you really want the job.”
Here is a simple formula for writing an effective cover letter that will entice the reader to want to get to know you:
The Salutation: Do a little research and locate the contact information for the hiring manager. If you absolutely cannot find the contact name — then use Dear Hiring Manager, not To Whom It May Concern.
First paragraph: Clearly let the reader know for which position you are applying. Include one of your primary qualifications and explain how you will use it to complete one goal for the position as outlined in the job description.
Second paragraph: Use one specific example of a previous career accomplishment that relates to the position for which you are applying. Make sure it is relevant so that the reader can envision you in their position.
Third paragraph: Mention a few of your key competencies as they relate to specifics contained within the job posting. What value do you offer the employer?
Final paragraph: Convey your excitement about the position and request an interview.
A few tips to make your cover letter more effective:
- Use the same heading as on your resume to create a professional-looking matching set.
- Keep it short and to the point.
- Include the specific name of the role and the company name a few times throughout the letter to let the reader know you really want to work for THEM, not just any company.
- Close the letter with Sincerely, and your name. This is a great opportunity to let the employer know you like being called Will rather than Bill, if your name is William.
It only takes a few minutes to tailor your cover letter to each position. Show the employer you are the best candidate for the position. This extra effort will improve your chances of being granted an interview. Best of luck in your job search!Trish Thomas founded The Resume Resource in 2009 to help people advance their careers with rewarding jobs that provide more than just a paycheck. As a Career Coach and Resume Writer, she provides her clients with the tools and strategies needed to achieve their goals and guides them through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful.