Throw In A Few Numbers
Hiring managers love to see statsthey show youve had a measurable impact on an organization or company youve worked for. That doesnt mean you have to have doubled revenue at your last job. Did you bring in more clients than any of your peers? Put together an impressive number of events? Made a process at work 30% more efficient? Those numbers speak volumes about what you could bring to your next position, and make your cover letter stand out.
You dont even have to have worked with numbers at all! Check out a few more tips for adding stats to those resume bullets, even if your previous jobs involved dealing with people, not figures.
What’s A Cover Letter
Cover letters tell your story. Their purpose is to introduce you to employers as a potential candidate for the job opening youâre applying for.
On a fundamental level, cover letters actually explain to employers why they should hire you. These letters bridge the gap between your resume – a list of skills, qualifications, and employment history – and an interview.
They allow you to elaborate on your resume, as well. That makes cover letters invaluable for candidates who may not fit the exact requirements of a job, such as new grads, students, and people who are changing career paths.
Do You Really Need A Cover Letter
Senior Editor for Job Search & Careers at LinkedIn News
You likely have parts of a job search that you enjoy, such as networking, but you also probably dislike many parts of the process. If we were placing bets on it, I would bet that cover letters fall into the latter category. Very few people have ever told me they enjoy writing cover letters.
Perhaps one of the worst aspects of writing cover letters is the fact that many people argue over their value. A quick Google search will reveal many results from people claiming cover letters are read by only a sliver of recruiters and hiring managers. Then, youll find plenty of results from people saying the letters can give job seekers an edge among a sea of other applicants.
The truth is that some recruiters and hiring managers read cover letters, but some flip right to your resume. You likely dont know which approach the people hiring for the position you want will take. As a result, you should take the time to write a cover letter whenever possible.
I think the cover letter can be really lucrative to someone who really wants to get their foot in the door at a target company or for a position theyve been gunning for, said Wendi Weiner, who is a personal branding and career expert at The Writing Guru.
The changing face of cover letters
A cover letter becomes an email message if youre building relationships and directly reaching a positions recruiter or hiring manager, for example.
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When To Write A Cover Letter
Even when an employer does not directly ask for one, be sure to always send a cover letter. When shouldnt you send a cover letter?
The only time you should avoid sending a cover letter is when a job listing explicitly says not to send one. In that situation, it’s more important to follow the directions on the job listing.
Have Someone Gut Check It
Have a friend take a look at your cover letter, and ask him or her two questions: Does this sell me as the best person for the job? and Does it get you excited? If the answer to either is no, or even slight hesitation, go back for another pass.
Finally, read this if youre looking to write a letter of intent instead of a cover letteryes, theres a difference.
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Creative Cover Letter Example
A creative cover letter makes your job application stand out by adding a bit of personality and flair.
In our creative cover letter example, the candidate is applying for a senior-level social media manager position. By the second paragraph, she has the readers attention. Then, she establishes her qualifications:
When You Cant Submit A Cover Letter
Many companies now use online application systems that dont allow for a cover letter. You may be able to figure out how to include one in the same document as your résumé but thats not a guarantee, especially because some systems only allow for data to be entered into specific boxes. In these cases, use the format youre given to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role. If possible, you may try to find someone who you can send a brief follow-up email highlighting a few key points about your application.
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What To Include In Cover Letter:
In your cover letter, you should include information that will help the hiring manager to better understand how your background and experience qualify you for the job. You also want to present these details in a straightforward and succinct manner so that hiring managers can quickly find what theyre looking for and then get back to their jobs.
To accomplish these things, a cover letter should include the following points:
- Who you are
- How you found out about the company or job opening .
- How you match the job description.
- Why you are qualified for the job.
- Your specific qualifications.
Any knowledge that you have of the company, its products, or industry. It is possible to be general in your qualifications without being imprecise and can include your experience, education levels, and professional achievements.
Dont Make Your Cover Letter Repetitive
We already said this before, but well say it again do not make your cover letter an exact copy of your resume!
Nobody wants to read the same thing twice.
You wouldnt, so why should your employer?
Dont be afraid to let loose a little bit and use a more conversational tone than you would on your resume.
Your cover letter should show the hiring manager your qualifications, but also your personality and your passion.
Dont go into too much job or education detail. Mention them briefly and talk about how they shaped you into the perfect candidate and what you learned from the experience.
Conclude With Thank You:
The thank-you is very important. It is how you leave a professional impression of yourself with your potential employer. Its an indication to them that you are formal and care about etiquette. While this sounds antiquated and formal, it is actually very effective.
If you are looking for a job in the Professional Services industry then you need to make sure that your cover letter is the best that it can be.
Creating A Cover Letter
A Cover Letter allows a potential employer to be introduced to you and your resume. It is the first document an employer sees, therefore serving as your first impression and also allows the employer to get a more comprehensive look at who you are and why you are qualified for the job. This being your first impression, you want to take advantage of the opportunity and prepare the reader for your application. State why you are you writing, why you are a good match for their organization/company, and when you intend to contact them.
During job search process writing a Cover letter can be very challenging. You are challenged to create a document about yourself that is not selfish and self-centered. But DON’T WORRY, we have all the tools necessary to aid you in this process. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be on your way to creating an excellent Cover Letter.
Display your written communication skills.
There are also hardcopy Cover Letter templates available upon request at the Counseling and Testing Center.
- Leave space between heading and name of specific person
- Use 1 inch margins all around the document
- Single space your letter
THE CLOSING STATEMENT
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What Is A Cover Letter And Why Are They Important
A cover letter accompanies your CV as part of a job application. It provides further detail on how your skill set aligns with the role, what you can bring to the team and why you want the position. Cover letters allow recruiters and hiring managers to develop a better understanding of your suitability for a position.
When your cover letter is being reviewed, this is often the point at which first impressions are made in the mind of an employer, making it an essential part of your application. In addition to this, employers often favour CVs that are accompanied by a cover letter and will in most cases specifically request one as a mandatory requirement to apply for their vacancies.
Follow With A Second Paragraph
Your second paragraph should be a brief overview of your background as is relevant to the position. Here, you should include key achievements, skills and specialties that make you particularly suited to perform well in the position. Focus on one or two and provide specific details about your success including measurable impacts you made.
Pay close attention to keywords listed in the job description and include those that you identify with in the body of your cover letter. You should only include information about your most recent one or two professional experiences.
Example:As the Director of Human Resources at Wes Morgan Philips, I was a key senior leader in the organization and was responsible for improving the efficiency and performance of the company’s 540 employees. Before that, I worked in human resources, equal employment opportunity and diversity for Jenkins Technology Solutions, Inc. At Jenkins Technology Solutions Inc., I developed an employee retention plan that involved the creation of a wellness program, an internal training program and a promotions selection process, which led to a 50% reduction in the overall employee turnover rate.
Avoid Generic References To Your Abilities
Whenever possible, tell meaningful anecdotes that tie your skills to concrete problem-solving activities or tangible business results youve worked on in your career. Any candidate can say they possess a desirable skill. To make an impact, you need to show hiring managers examples of your skills in action. For example:
Too vague:My skills would be a great fit for your organization.
More specific:In my role as a sales associate, I am frequently required to provide exceptional customer service on short notice. Exceeding customers expectations is a point of personal and professional pride for me, and this is a skill Im eager to continue developing.”
Too vague:Im a proactive team player.
More specific:In my current job, I proactively jumped in to help launch an internal recycling and waste reduction initiative. Together, our team contributed to a 25% reduction in solid waste production within the company.
Resumes And Cover Letters Go Hand In Hand
We already mentioned this above, but cover letters and resumes complement each other well, so they should be used accordingly.
While a resume is quickly scannable, a hiring manager might struggle to make sense of all the data youre throwing at them, especially if your resume is on the longer side.
Thats why a cover letter is a good addition to a resume, as it helps translate that information into paragraphs, making it easier to read and take in.
But thats not all a cover letter and a resume, as different as they are, should stick to the same design.
Theres not a single recruiter out there that wants to spend their valuable time trying to match a resume to a cover letter like its a puzzle.
Cover letters are also a great way to make sure your resume doesnt end up in the trash.
Lots of employers read the cover letter first to help them decide if the resume is worth reading at all.
So, boost your chances and type up that cover letter.
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Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out
- Be yourself. A “formula” approach is fine, but each letter should reflect your personality and your enthusiasm. Let them shine through. Take pride in who you are and what you’ve done. The reader is looking for a human being, a person who knows what he or she can offer and can express it well.
- Write in the active tense. Active verbs are the key when writing cover letters and résumés. Instead of saying, “My best attributes include team play and motivating people,” say, “I’m a dedicated team player who can motivate people.” The latter promises a go-getter employeesomeone who can take action instead of waiting to be led by the hand.
Address The Hiring Manager Personally
How would you feel if you got an email addressed, To Whom It May Concern? Just as you personalize your resume to the role, you should also address the cover letter to the person actually hiring for the position, as opposed to Dear Employer. If its not spelled out in the job posting and you cant find it on LinkedIn, be proactive and call the organizations main phone number and ask for the name and title of the hiring manager.
If youre still in school or just out, your career services office may be able to help you identify the right contact at a company.
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A Formal Cover Letter Greeting
You should also greet the reader of your cover letter with a polite salutation. Dear Mr./Ms./Mx. does the trick:
Dear Ms. Hernandez,
Using an actual name is better than writing Dear Hiring Manager or To Whom It May Concern because it shows youve done some research while preparing your application.
Find the hiring managers name on the company website or on LinkedIn. If all else fails, call the company and ask for the hiring managers name, and explain that its for addressing your application if asked.
Why This Is A Great Example Of A Cover Letter
In the example above, the candidate is concise and straightforward. She conveys much of what a cover letter should say in the opening paragraph, like her amount and type of experience plus where she found the job.
Then the candidate lists specific responsibilities from the job description, and mentions her experience handling such work. She even gives an example of how her efforts have benefited her current employer.
At this point, her cover letter has already gone beyond her resume and helped the hiring manager quickly understand her value as a hire.
Finally, the candidate signs off by mentioning how shell reach out if she doesnt hear back from the hiring manager. This call to action is a valuable part of a general cover letter.
Write your own call to action to show youre serious about the job, and willing to make the first move if necessary.
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Tips For Writing A Cover Letter
Take care not to simply repeat your resume in your cover letter. Whereas a resume provides all the necessary information, such as your education, skills and work experience, a cover letter should provide some detail about your specific career story to demonstrate your unique personality and work style. A cover letter also gives you the opportunity to provide an employer with information that you could not add in your resume, such as gaps in your job history.
Review Examples And Templates
For help writing your cover letter, read samples like the one below, as well as cover letter templates. Remember to tailor any example or template to fit your own experiences and the job for which you are applying.
Want more tips? Review the top 10 cover letter writing tips for more details on how to craft a successful cover letter. Its smart to familiarize yourself with what it takes to write an effective cover letter before you get started writing. That way, you can spend less time on editing and more time on getting it right from the start.
You can also use a cover letter sample, like the one below, for inspiration.
Be sure to tailor any samples you use to match your own background and the job for which you are applying.
As a reminder, always rework your cover letter to fit each specific position that you apply for. In addition to tweaking the content, dont forget to update the salutation, the job title, and the company name.
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How To Use Cover Letter Samples
These samples will help you write and format your cover letter as either a Word document or a text version that you can send as an email message.
Reviewing examples also gives you ideas for the language you might want to use, the information you should include, and how to format the letter so all the required information is included and there is plenty of white space on the page. Then, spend some time customizing your letter:
- Take the details from your resume and use them to personalize the sample that you download.
- Be sure to replace the text in the example with your own experience and qualifications for the job.
- Don’t forget to double-check that all your personal information is accurate before you click send or upload the letter.
Be sure to customize your letter to fit your own skills and experience and to target the specific job for which you are applying.
Subject Line Of Email Message
Never leave the subject line blank. There is a good chance that if a hiring manager receives an email with no subject line, theyll delete it without even bothering to open it, or it could end up in their spam mailbox. Instead, write a clear subject indicating your intentions.
List the job you are applying for in the subject line of your email message, so the employer knows what job you are interested in. They may be hiring for multiple positions, and you will want them to identify the position youre interested in easily.
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