Don’t Make Your Cover Letter Generic
Boilerplate is not the way to go. You need to tailor your cover letter to speak specifically to each company’s needs.
Read the job description and brainstorm how you have each prerequisite. Then, pair it with a specific contribution, experience, or accomplishment. Relay this information in a paragraph or a set of bullets. This will customize your cover letter and grab the reader’s attention.
You don’t have to say it all in your cover letter. If you want to get the job, just say it right.
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A Note About Sending Cover Letters
Most of the time, you will be sending cover letters by e-mail. When submitting a letter or application in this manner, put your cover letter in the body of the e-mail and attach your resume as a .pdf document. Be sure to follow an employers instructions when filling in the subject line. If an employer does not specify subject line instructions for submitting applications, write the word Application, the position you are applying for/inquiring about, a dash – and your name.
Subj: Application: Northwestern Mutual Financial Representative Kang
The subject line is extremely important when sending a job application or prospecting letter through e-mail. The subject line determines whether your e-mail will be opened and ultimately, considered. Be sure to follow employer guidelines exactly where specified.
When sending a cover letter by mail, affix a hand written signature above your printed name. Be sure the letter is postmarked before any application dates. Note the differences in formatting in the Cover Letter format page. Be sure to include all necessary documents in your envelope. It is recommended that you print your resume and cover letter on professional resume paper .
In The Days Before Your Interview
From this research, prepare a list of questions to ask the person interviewing you. The questions you ask have the ability to teach the recruiter more about you.
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What Does A Good Resume Look Like
A resume gives you the opportunity to present your background, experience and abilities to an employer before meeting with them. A well-written resume should highlight your qualifications for the position you have applied for. In this article, well review what makes a resume look good and provide some examples.
Use The Hiring Manager’s Name If Possible
People like personalization. Using the hiring manager’s name shows you did your research.
Companies and recruiters often post their positions in more than one place. Run a Google search for a portion of the job description in quotation marks. Or, if you know the name of the recruiting agency that’s running the search, take a look at its company site. If the group is small enough, it may have each recruiter’s bio listed.
The worst ways to address a cover letter or an email to a potential employer include: To whom it may concern,Dear Sir or Madam,Hello,Hiring Manager and Dear Recruiter. Avoid using these.
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Cover Letters Help You Overcome A Lack Of Experience
If youre a recent graduate and your most impressive work experience is relevant coursework, then submitting a cover letter is a good way to assure the employer you have the right attitude.
Companies value passionate, engaged employees, and understand that all of our professional journeys begin somewhere. Your cover letter is an opportunity to highlight your passion for a particular career or industry, and show how even without experience, youre ready to learn and grow quickly in the role.
How Many References Should You Have
Most job seekers should have between three and four references on their reference page.
However, if youre applying for a position that requires extensive vetting like a senior-level role, you should include between five and seven professional references.
But remember that all of your references should be high quality. Each reference should be able to meaningfully attest to your professional strengths and character. Dont include more references just to hit a higher number.
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What Goes On A Cover Page
Cover pages generally adhere to a specific format, depending on the type of job you are applying for. For example, writing a cover page for a digital content writer role may be different than for a finance officer role. In some fields, applicants can use the opportunity to express their flair and creativity.
To get an idea of how to write cover pages for specific roles, you can read cover page examples.
A cover page for most jobs will include these elements:
Think Not What The Company Can Do For You
Another common cover letter mistake? Talking about how great the position would be for you and your resume. Frankly, hiring managers are aware of thatwhat they really want to know is what youre going to bring to the position and company. Try to identify the companys pain pointsthe problem or problems that they need the person they hire to solve. Then emphasize the skills and experience you have that make you the right person to solve them.
On that note
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Where Are You In The Resume Development Process
Your resume is a dynamic record of your achievements, which means it is always changing. Your resume should change throughout your college career as you gain new experiences and acquire new skills. For example, a freshman applying to become an Orientation Leader might have a different resume than a junior looking for a summer internship at a global company. When beginning your resume, its important to know where you are in your educational career so that you can match your resume to fit your needs.
- Freshmen & SophomoresAs a freshman, you might not have a lot to put on your resume, but if you stay involved on campus and work hard to gain professional experience and internships, your resume will gradually fill up. Since you wont have many college experiences yet, it is fine to include your high school extracurricular activities on your resume until you get your first college level internship. Remember that even a seemingly small job can reflect a valuable trait in you, and is appropriate for a resume. For example: being a math tutor teaches patience and presentation skills. A busboy learns responsibility, timeliness and the importance of quality.
Cover Letter Layout Tips
When laying out a cover letter, you want to follow the layout of a typical business letter.
Heading. A business letter begins with your contact information, and then the employers contact information, if it’s available.
Letter spacing. It’s important to properly space the layout of the cover letters you send, with space between the heading, the greeting, each paragraph, the closing, and your signature. Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Also, remember to left-justify your entire letter.
Font and font size. When selecting a font, use a simple font like Arial, Verdana, Courier New, or Times New Roman. Your font size should be no smaller than 10-pt. but no larger than 12-pt. In choosing your font size, 12 pt. is probably the bestyou dont want to irritate a hiring manager by making him or her have to squint to read your font.
Formatting Tips For Your Cover Letter
Follow these steps to quickly create an effective cover letter:
Create An Effective Resume
The resumes primary function is to showcase your talents and skills to an employer – clearly, convincingly and quickly. A resume is:
- An individual summary of your background, experience, training and skills
- A way to tell employers what you have accomplished in the past and what you can do for their company now
- Your most important job search tool that can get you an interview, and leaves a lasting impression on a potential employer
- A guide for you and the employer during an interview
It is critical that you invest your time and effort into creating a resume that meets the employers needs and highlights your assets. You should target your resume for specific jobs, and edit and update it according to what job youre applying for.
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How To Write A Cover Letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter involves understanding a cover letters structure. Follow the sample cover letter template below to easily write your own letter.
Opening paragraph: State who you are, say where you found the job listing, and explain why youre interested in the position.
Body paragraphs: Give an overview of your previous job experience, skills, qualifications, and accomplishments. Dont repeat your resume. Explain what makes you a unique candidate and how you can help the company meet its goals. Use numbers to back up your claims.
Closing paragraph: State that youd like to schedule an interview and provide your contact information. Say youll be in touch within a week if you dont hear back. Finish by thanking the employer for their time and consideration.
Make sure you include all the sections in our cover letter sample and write detailed body paragraphs about your expertise. Hiring managers often read your cover letter before your resume, so its important to sell yourself and your skills.
Spacing Within Your Cover Letter
Good spacing is essential for your cover letterwhitespace in the right places will make it easier for the hiring manager to read quickly. Follow these guidelines:
- Make your cover letter single-spaced
- Add a space between each section: contact information, salutation, opening paragraph, middle paragraph, closing paragraph and complimentary closing.
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Cover Letters Complement Your Resume
Your resume provides a concise, black-and-white look at your qualifications, background, and skills. Your cover letter, on the other hand, adds a bit of color to your application giving employers a preview of your personality and motivations.
For instance, if you list accomplishments on your resume, you have room to elaborate on those accomplishments in your cover letter. Or you can take examples from your resumes work experience section, and use your cover letter to write about how that experience makes you the best candidate.
You can also use your cover letter to clear up parts of your resume an employer might be concerned about. For example do you have a history of job hopping or being unemployed for long periods of time? Or is the address on your resume from a different state than where the company is located?
When your well-written resume and cover letter work together in harmony, your application gives hiring managers the most complete, positive picture of you as a candidate.
How To Write An Awesome Cover Letter Closing
Your cover letter closing matters. Here are some tips on how to end a cover letter and some examples highlighting what not to do.
Many job seekers focus all their attention on polishing their resume, giving less importance to writing a strong cover letter. But the cover letter isnt just a formality. Its as important as your resume. In fact, it can be even more essential because, if it doesnt capture a hiring managers attention, your resume might not get a look at all.
Your resume may spell out your skills, but its your cover letter that gives you the opportunity to convince a potential employer that you would be an asset to the company and can hit the ground running. And the final paragraph of your letter is key its what leaves the last impression of you with a hiring manager. Your conclusion should propel them to action, namely to schedule an interview.
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How To Organize Your List Of Job References
Always start with your strongest reference first. That is, the person who you believe will be most helpful and most impressive when called should be the first person on your list.
Why list your best reference first?
Employers may not always call all of the people on your list, but they usually start at the top of the list and work down. In order to ensure they call the best person, that person should be at the top of the list.
Also, the first reference who is called will make the first impression and set the tone for the employer – Another good reason why you should put your strongest reference at the top of the list.
Choose The Right Formatting
There are three major formats to write a resume: chronological, functional and combination. Although most resumes follow a chronological format, the correct format may depend on the industry, your job title and personal preferences.
Restrict the length of your resume to a page or two. Depending on your work history, it may benefit you to focus on the most recent position you held and the most important educational qualifications you hold. Keep the descriptions about older jobs and less relevant qualifications as short as possible.
Related: Resume Format Guide
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Be Open To Other Formats
If youre applying to a more traditional company, then the tried-and-true three-to-five-paragraph format probably makes sense. However, if youre gunning for a more creative or startup jobor need to explain to the hiring manager, say, how your career has taken you from teaching to business developmenta different approach could be appropriate.
Here at The Muse, weve seen cover letters use bullet points, tell stories, or showcase videos to get their point across. One woman wrote a cover letter from her dogs perspective. This professional even turned hers into a BuzzFeed-style list!
When To Use A Curriculum Vitae
If you are considering positions in academia , you are generally asked to provide a curriculum vitae instead of a resume. Your CV will highlight your scholarly and professional experiences when applying for academic , research positions, academic postdoctoral research opportunities, grants, and fellowships. Keep in mind the purpose is also to have the hiring committee interested in interviewing you. Therefore, be selective in your accomplishments to show you are a strong candidate for the job, department, and institution.
CVs vary from discipline to discipline. It is recommended to reference the CVsof others in your field and have your advisor review them as well. The CV is focused on expertise and provides a complete summary of your academic achievements. The typical CV length is 2-3 pages, with additional pages added to further your career and academic successes.
Standard CV sections include: Education, Teaching Experience, Research Experience, Honors and Awards, Professional/Volunteer Experience, Publications, Presentations, Scholarly/Professional Affiliations, Research Interests, Extracurricular Activities, Licensing/Registration/Certifications, Grants/Fellowships, University Service, Technical Skills, and References.
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Having A Master Reference List Ready:
It is helpful to have a complete master list of references already prepared, even if you are currently not looking for a job. This way, whenever you are asked for your references you will not struggle to come up with appropriate contacts on short notice. Gather together your professional contacts along with their names, titles, organizations, phone numbers, and email addresses and keep them handy.
Electronic Cover Letter Tips
City, State Zip Code
Dear Ms. or Mr. :
Opening Paragraph – Tell why you are writing name the position, field, or type of work for which you are applying mention how you heard about the opening or organization. Try to get the reader’s attention.
Middle Paragraph – Describe your most important qualifications in relationship to the position, field, or organization for which you wish to be considered. Explain why you are interested in working for this employer, and specify your reasons for desiring this type of work. Emphasize skills or abilities you have that relate to the job for which you are applying.
Refer the reader to your resume below, but do not simply repeat the facts on the resume. Instead, interpret the facts on the resume from the employer’s point-of-view. Help the reader see between the lines and draw conclusions. Be personable and enthusiastic, but also brief and specific. Remember that the reader will view your letter as an example of your writing skills.
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How To Write An Essay Cover Page
What you include in your cover page depends slightly on which citation style you are using, but the rules are generally the same.
For APA cover pages:
Include the title of the paper, running head, the authors name, institutional affiliation, and an authors note.
Here is an example of a cover page in APA:
For MLA cover pages:
Cover pages are not as frequently used in MLA format, as the inclusion of headers is preferred.
A header looks like this:
Cover pages can include the name of your school, your paper title, your name, your course name, your teacher or professors name, and the due date of the paper. If you are unsure of what to include, check with your instructor.
Here is an example of a cover page in MLA format:
For more help making cover or title pages, visit our title page generator here.