How to Write a Cover Letter
Personalize your first impressions to employers to stand out.
To whom it may concern:
If you’re starting your cover letter with this generic opening, you’ve already likely lost the job. With some extra effort, you can find out who is reviewing cover letters and address it to that person. A cover letter should be customized, tailored to the audience and show intention. Here’s how to craft a cover letter that gets attention.
Include necessary components
Connection: The introductory paragraph of your cover letter should have a hook, highlighting your relevant experience. Proposal: In the second paragraph, summarize your strengths and relate your skills to the competencies required for the position. Quantify your accomplishments and describe unique contributions you bring to the table.
Use important keywords
When cover letters are uploaded into resume management systems, they too are often scanned for keywords, so be sure to use the language, syntax and keywords of the job posting in the cover letter, just as you would in the resume. The voice of cover letter should reflect the job posting.
Tell a story
The best stories invite us along on a journey with a hero to explore new places, new ideas and new adventures. They get us to momentarily forget our everyday life, and inspire us to aspire to greater heights as we accompany the main character to uncharted territory. In your next cover letter, try storytelling techniques to inspire the reader to learn more about your best traits.
Contact a human
After you have submitted your application online, consider printing your cover letter and find an actual human to send it to in the mail. This follow-up can underscore your interest in the position. Even in the face of the automation trend, the savvy job seeker keeps writing to humans. If you reach the right screener, the extra effort is justified.
By taking the time to craft a customized cover letter, you are signaling to the employer your interest in the position and demonstrating your understanding of the requirements and how they relate to your experience. Put in this extra work, and it could pay off.