Many people dread writing cover letters when it comes to applying for jobs. Here are 4 tips for writing a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd.
1. Drop names. If you know someone who works at the company, or someone referred you to the open position, mention their name in the opening line of the cover letter (get their permission of course). People are much more likely to respond to you, if you know someone they have a relationship with.
2. Do the work for the hiring manager when it comes to matching your skills to the job. Don’t make them spend ten minutes searching throughout your resume to see if you have the required skills (chances are they won’t take the time to do that), instead spell it out clearly for them in the cover letter. Simply take the job description and list out the 3 most critical skills required to do the job. In the cover letter, explicitly state that you have those skills, and describe the specific experiences you have had in the past that allowed you put that skill to use. The more you can communicate results, the better.
3. Tell them why you want to work for them. Explain why you are interested in working for the company by writing about the aspects of their work or mission that resonates with you. This is your chance to demonstrate that you have taken the time to thoroughly research the company, and understand their challenges and needs. You reasoning for wanting to work for the company should be unique, if you could send the exact same cover letter to their top competitor without changing a word – it’s too generic.
4. Focus on the value you can add to the organization. I read many cover letters where the applicant spends an entire paragraph talking about why the job is the perfect opportunity for them. Instead of talking about yourself, write about what you can do for the company, and why they have the perfect opportunity to hire you.