The average employer spends less than a minute reviewing your resume and cover letter. I never really believed this until I became a hiring manager. Now I totally get it! I’ve reviewed thousands of job applications, and I’ve learned what to look for – quickly. And one of the things I look for is a well-written cover letter.
While your résumé highlights what you’ve done, your cover letter connects the dots so the hiring manager can clearly see how your skills and experiences make you a great fit for the job. Here are some tips for writing a cover letter that will make you stand out from all of the other job applicants:
- Show enthusiasm for the job, company, and industry.
- Highlight key aspects of the job so the hiring manger knows you get what the job is all about.
- Demonstrate how your experiences make you a great fit for the job; present evidence of what you’ve done in the past (be specific!) without repeating the same information from your résumé.
- Reference activities and accomplishments that demonstrate your initiative, commitment, and leadership ability (such as volunteer work, organizational membership, and professional development).
- Be confident and state how the company would benefit from hiring you.
- Name-drop when appropriate.
- Proof-read the letter before you send it!
- Write a generic cover letter. This shows you don’t care enough to make the effort.
- Summarize your résumé (I can’t emphasize this enough).
- Start every sentence with “I.”
- Use qualifiers, such as “I think” or “I feel.”
- Bypass the cover letter because it isn’t required. ALWAYS include a cover letter when applying for a job.
The point of writing a cover letter is to sell yourself so you land an interview. When I’m reviewing job applications, I want your cover letter to make me think it would be a mistake NOT to interview you. So, spend the extra time and effort to make your cover letter great – it is worth the work!
Jene Kapela, Ed.D.
Do you need help writing a great cover letter? Contact Jene at firstname.lastname@example.org.