An effective cover letter. It’s like meeting someone for the first time and shaking their hand. It’s someone’s first impression of you. Obviously, first impressions are important. It is extremely important because it could make or break your chance at getting hired for that dream job. Some may say it’s even more important than the résumé. If an employer is not blown away, they may not even look at your résumé.
5 Top Tips for an Effective Cover Letter
- Know Who You’re Contacting– Nothing is worse than addressing your letter “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”. Talk about not writing an effective cover letter. It also makes it pretty obvious that you do not knowing who you’re talking to! Do your research and figure out who exactly will be reading your letter. He or she could be your next boss. Take the time to learn their name and spell it correctly.
- Map Out Why You Specifically Want to Work There-The mere fact that you need a job is not a reason why you want to work at a certain place. There has to be at least one specific reason why you are drawn to this job. Figure out what this is and make sure your cover letter conveys it. This will help to make it an effective cover letter.
- Use Words From the Job Description– Do you have a certain skill that makes you perfect for this job? Better yet, is this skill spelled out in the job description? If it is then use the words in the job description in your letter. This not only shows you are a good fit, it also shows you were paying close attention to the job description. Bosses love attention to detail!
- Keep it Short- While there may be 101 reasons why you are perfect for the job, you don’t have to list all of them. Pick a couple and make them count in your effective cover letter. Employers can tell if you’re trying to pad a letter or if you’re just too wordy. Either one is not good and probably won’t score you an interview.
- Strong Close, Make Them Remember You– A lasting impression is just as important as that first impression. Make the closing of your letter strong. Make it stand out. Make the employer remember you and want to read your résumé. One suggestion is to make it clear that if you’re chosen you’re ready to work and are up for the challenge. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that you will follow up with a phone call. Let them know your cover letter and résumé will not be the last time they’ll hear from you.
If you’re unsure if you have an effective cover letter, give it to a family member or trusted friend to read. They may have suggestions that will help you land that interview and hopefully your dream job.