Any time a single job post pops up online or the dailies, it is only a matter of time before managers will be inundated with hundreds of resumes and cover letters. As a prospective employee, all you have to make an excellent first impression is a well-written and well-constructed cover letter. If your cover letter does not impress the hiring manager within a few seconds, it will go into the “No” tray on his left!
A cover letter is the only way your potential employer will get to “hear your voice” before you reach the interview stage (if you get that far). So your cover letter has the power to get your foot in the door of the interview room!
How, then, can you write a great cover letter that gives you a good shot at the job or interview? Follow these tips below:
Be yourself as much as possible
Do not sound like everyone else if you want your cover letter to stand out. Let hiring managers connect with you by giving them a sense of your persona, while letting them know how you will fit into the organization.
If you can incorporate some aspects of your personality, such as how you will succeed if given the coveted position, a hiring manager will be curious to find out exactly how you plan achieve this.
For instance, you can mention experiences or track records that make you suitable for that position. Be concise, and your cover letter will go to the “Yes” tray!
Start with a captivating intro to draw the hiring manager in! Highlight your experiences, years in a job-related environment, etc. This is because hiring managers spend less time reading cover letters compared to the time they spend poring through resumes. Go straight to the point and do not waste time.
If you can inject a brief story that will connect you to the organization via its product, mission, etc, this will separate you from the other job seekers vying for the position.
If applying for a job in another country, or if you are a new arrival to the country you live in, be sure to get your cover letter and resume professionally translated. Don’t assume that hiring personnel will be bilingual. Plus, it is courteous to provide information in the local language. A professional translator will ensure, not only that your details are correct, but also that your personal style is reflected in the translated text.
Perform and customize your research
Your cover letter must be tailored to the position you are applying for, just like your resume. Use an industry-specific cover letter instead of the regular template-style that most applicants use.
Next, do your research to determine who the hiring manager is and then address the cover letter to them. Although this is not always feasible, addressing the hiring manager personally, singles you out from the crowd. However, if you cannot verify who the hiring manager is, you can use of a generic salutation.
Try not to address your cover letter using the much-hated “Dear Madam or Sir,” but address it to a specific individual within the firm. It shows that you have done some background research about the company and shows your keen interest in working for the organization.
If you have been referred, you should include the name of the person that referred you (with their permission, of course). Referrals will make you noticeable and assure the hiring manager that someone within the organization can vouch for you.
Lastly, do not forget to check, double-check, edit, and proofread your cover letter before sending it off. Typos can irritate hiring managers as well.
Following the steps outlined above will increase your chances of getting an invitation for an interview with the company. Good luck!