While many may downplay the importance of cover letters, a good cover letter could be the difference between not hearing back and securing an interview.
When writing a cover letter, first impressions are crucial. The employer has to decide whether they will continue reading your application or simply toss it aside.
While many start with phrases such as “I am writing to apply for the position of” this can cause the employer to quickly lose interest, especially if they are reading hundreds of cover letters. Instead, try crafting an opening that will catch the reader’s attention. For example, an achievement or a part of the job description that stands out to you.
Align your skills with the role.
When drafting a cover letter, you should pay close attention to the job description. Match your skills with those outlined in the description, providing clear examples. For example, if the position asks for strong computer skills, it might be helpful to outline the computer programs you have experience in.
Ask yourself questions like Why are you interested in the role and the company? And How can your experience, skills, qualifications help the company meet its goals?.
To make a standout impression, research the company’s mission online and see if you can match your experience with this.
It’s always nice to personally address the cover letter to an appropriate person, such as a hiring manager and include a link to your LinkedIn profile. While this can be a time consuming process, it is recommended that you tailor your cover letter to each specific role.
How long should a cover letter be?
A cover letter should be between three to four paragraphs and one page. If it is too long the employer may lose interest and stop reading. However, a good cover letter should definitely be more than half a page.
What not to do
A big mistake many people make is not submitting a cover letter at all. You should submit a cover letter for each position, unless you are specifically requested not to.
Don’t be excessive with details or simply copy what is in your resume. The purpose of a cover letter is to be a taster, encouraging an employer to read your resume. Therefore, you don’t need to give everything away immediately.
Keep the font simple and consistent. A basic, clear font will make the cover letter easy to read.
Don’t mention any gaps in your skills or experience. If you have to mention these, save it for the interview. You want your cover letter to focus on the positives.
You should keep the tone of a cover letter professional. Try not to mention anything you wouldn’t mention in a job interview.
Above all else ensure your cover letter has an upbeat, friendly tone and demonstrates a positive attitude towards the company.
Producing a cover letter isn’t easy and takes time and effort. The team at Public Service Resumes can assist you with our cover letter writing service.