Landing an interview can be tough for professionals who haven’t grasped how to write a strong cover letter. They may send out hundreds of applications that they believe to be impressive, but without a good cover letter to go with it, that application is far more likely to be sent into an unanswered void or just tossed in the trash. Here are seven tips to writing a strong cover letter.
1. Target Your Cover Letter
Direct each cover letter toward the company and position for which you're applying. If you just send out the same cover letter to each company without tweaking it, some of your skills or experience on the cover letter may not seem relevant to the company. Each cover letter should address a specific company’s needs and desires, not just showcase all your skills and experience.
2. Show Why You're the Right Fit
Your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job. Use the cover letter to detail why certain skills and experiences are perfect for the position and how you expect to grow in the job if hired.
3. Don't Copy Your Resume
Make sure your cover letter differs from your resume. The hiring manager may read both, but a good cover letter is designed to make your case, in contrast to your resume, which functions more as a showcase of all your skills. Use your cover letter to highlight your specific qualifications, experience skills that are appropriate to the position.
4. Don't Highlight Your Weaknesses
Leave your weaknesses out of your cover letter. This document is meant to showcase your strengths and skills. Be ready to answer questions about any weakness when you prepare for an interview, but there's no need to point them out in your cover letter.
5. Focus on the Company's Needs
Your cover letter isn't really about you; it's about the company to which you're applying. The cover letter should explain why you're the perfect fit for the company and the position and how you plan to meet the company's needs. Don’t overuse the word "I," and keep the focus outward.
6. Keep It Brief
Don’t go overboard with the cover letter length. One page of roughly four paragraphs should be more than enough.
7. Make It Perfect
Edit your cover letter until it’s flawless. The cover letter is your first chance to show a hiring manager why you're the answer to the company's need. If your cover letter is riddled with grammatical mistakes and typos, it hardly makes a good impression.
Following these seven tips can help any professional create a strong cover letter. Even the most inexperienced applicants can feel more confident sending in a cover letter that caters to the company’s needs and showcases strengths rather than weaknesses.
Image courtesy of Flazingo Photos at Flickr.com
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