How to Craft a Stand Out Cover Letter
As the rate of turnover increases in today’s job market, a cover letter is becoming increasingly vital to the hiring process. Where resumes and education used to tell the story of an applicant’s career path clearly, now they can be a little difficult to decipher.
Using a well-crafted cover letter can serve as your opportunity to interpret your resume for the reader. It’s your chance to draw attention to the areas you’d like them to focus on and explain anything that may appear questionable, at first glance.
Here’s what you’ll want to include in your standout cover letter:
- INTRODUCTION: MAKING THE PROMISE
Like every other piece of written content, you’ve got to be able to grab their attention right away. This is done by opening your letter with a very specific line that addresses the business directly. Do not use a template or generic openings. Address the company directly and tell them why you are so interested in working with them. What, specifically, about their company appeals to you?
This lets the hiring manager know that you not only took the time to craft an original cover letter but also that you’ve already done your homework on the company itself.
The second feature of a strong introduction is to instantly let them know how your unique talent will support their current objectives. The operative word is “unique.” Rather than a laundry list of favorable personality traits, pick one skillset you feel places you at a competitive advantage and mention it in your introduction. It may sound something like, “I strongly believe my proficiency with cloud-based technology and experience with startups will be hugely beneficial in automating processes for “XYZ” company.”
This is how you create interest. You make the big promise that solves their problem, right in the introduction. Then you use the subsequent paragraphs to elaborate on this bold statement.
- SECTION TWO: EXPLAINING HOW YOU’LL DO IT
The second paragraph is all about pulling the pieces of your resume that support your statement in the introduction of your letter. Reference what you’ve accomplished for other companies and the approach you took. Be selective and succinct. This should be only a paragraph or two at most. You want to save the detailed explanations for the interview, but let give them enough to show you’ve got the goods to back up your confidence.
- SECTION 3: BRING IT BACK TO THEM
Some of you may be concerned section two of your cover letter may make you seem a little narcissistic. The truth is, hiring managers want to see that you are confident in what you know, yet maintain your eagerness to learn.
This is where section three comes in. In this section, you’ll want to come back to the company and why you believe yourself to be a good fit. Explain how their company will offer you new growth opportunities. Discuss how your strengths either add to or compliment theirs. You can even mention how a new initiative of theirs is particularly exciting to you.
Hiring managers love to see candidates who embrace change, have a passion for learning, and are invested in the success of the company as a whole.
- CLOSING: INVITATION TO INTERVIEW
A closing is your last chance to make an impression. It is the last thing they will read, before deciding which stack you will be categorized into. The best closings are brief and include an invitation to discuss a specific opportunity further.
Use this section to remind the hiring manager of the claim you made in your introduction and how you’d like to further discuss how to achieve this goal. Always thank the reader for their time and express your desire to take the next step in the hiring process.
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