Ask any job seeker what the hardest part of their job search is and chances are they will probably say, ‘’Writing that damned cover letter!” The purpose of a cover letter is to provide a personal introduction, and acts as a customized way to showcase your skills, talent and achievements. Here are 6 tips on how to make sure that cover letter writing is not a total pain in the ass.
- Use a Standard, Easy-to-Read Font:
The font and format of the cover letter should be simple, but powerful. Use a font like Arial, which is pretty standard and easy to read. Do not use a swirly, cursive font. Keep the font size somewhere between 11 and 12. No bigger, no smaller.
2. Length of Cover Letter:
Length is the first area of a cover letter that tends to trip up job seekers. Keep your cover letter as short as possible, and try not to exceed one page. Failure to stick to one-page can send the wrong signals to recruiters and hiring managers. Just think about the message you’re sending if you’re selling your communication skills, but you can’t get your point across in one page!
- Include the Job Title:
You always should mention the specific job title for which you’re applying. It is important to be sure to include where you saw the job opening; for example, whether it was on LinkedIn or the company website. Bonus tip: don’t forget to get the hiring manager’s name if possible and address the letter to them!
- Sell Yourself:
There is a fine line to walk when writing a cover letter. You have to show confidence in yourself and convey your understanding of the job description, while also displaying how your skills and experience are relevant to the position. Just don’t go too far, because it’s a MAJOR turn-off. You should show a little personality in your cover letter, but you want to strike the right balance between being overly formal and too informal. It is best to be more on the formal side, but you do not need to sound robotic.
You can choose an accomplishment, a skill or a project that you believe will catch the recruiter’s eye professionally. This is the place to mention if you have a particular interest or area of expertise that will be a good fit. You should also include why you would be an asset to the company, the unique things you have to offer and how they would benefit from hiring you.
- Use Language from the Job Description Posting:
When a company posts a job description, they are saying, ‘Here is what we need,” so you want to use that same language when you are explaining why you are an ideal candidate for the position. Using the same language and keywords from the job search. Description helps if your application is initially processed by an applicant tracking system (ATS) or resume parser.
You should always proofread, spell check and re-read your cover letter to look for typos or mistakes. If you can, ask a friend or trusted colleague to go over the documents with fresh eyes. They might find typos you may have missed. Your cover letter is often the very first impression a hiring manager, recruiter or HR professional has of you. Make sure you’re investing the time it takes to make it great so that your new job is just around the corner!