Job seekers often spend a great deal of time perfecting their resumes. While there is no doubt that a professional resume is an essential component of the job search process, a well-crafted cover letter is equally important but often neglected. Cover letters can reflect a side of you that your resume simply can’t portray. For example, when executed well, a cover letter can demonstrate your work ethic and attention to detail. Regardless of how impressive your resume is, a poorly written- or non-existent- cover letter might be a deal breaker. Consider the following cover letter tips:
Be mindful of the company culture. Every organization has their own unique culture and your cover letter should reflect that. For example, if you’re applying for a position at a company that focuses heavily on statistics, the tone of your cover letter should be appealing to readers who crave data and facts. Alternatively, if you’re sending your cover letter to a creative, non-profit organization, your words should have a decidedly different tone. Simply put: avoid sending out a generic cover letter; always cater your letter to the specific organization you’re applying to.
Explain how you can help. Of course, you want to impress the hiring manager with your skills and experience, but more importantly, you want to stress how you can help the organization. Present yourself as a solution to a problem. For example, if you’re applying for an position that heavily-hints at building processes and procedures from scratch, write about how you can improve the efficiency of their systems, and subsequently save the company time and money.
Brevity is key. Hiring managers don’t want to read a novel about your work experience, however impressive it may be. Instead, try to keep your cover letter brief. Aim for no more than three paragraphs.
Check your ego at the door. Avoid making your cover letter all about you. Remember: your goal is to present yourself as a solution to the company’s problem. Don’t litter your letter with sentences beginning with “I…” and think of alternative ways to convey your message.