So you are on the job hunt and have finally updated your resume. Your confidence is soaring as a guiding light as you smile to yourself and think, "My destiny is one step closer to being fulfilled." After carefully searching, you have found a few vacancies in which to apply. As you begin to complete this process with your head held high, you notice that the employer requests a cover letter attachment to your resume.
(insert screeching hault sound effects here)
"Ohhh no! I hate those things! Doesnt my resume say enough about me? I dont want to do a cover letter! What if it isnt long or good enough? I am never going to get a good job when everyone is requesting this of me."
Now before you start to pull all of your hair out, calm down! Many people do not particularly love the cover letter step of the job seeking process but that doesnt mean there is no hope.
Here are some helpful tips for writing a cover letter:
1) Always Opt In - Whether or not the employer asks for it, provide a cover letter. Think of it this way: There are 100 resumes passing through a hiring manager's desk daily. The manager is not particularly excited about reading each detail of every applicants' one pager. They are setting out to divide and conquer, looking to get that stack of 100 resumes down to 75 by lunchtime. What can you do to increase chances that your resume will still be in the stack of potentials; BY STANDING OUT! Express your capability, enthusiasm, and individuality immediately by setting yourself apart from the general public. Look at your cover letter as your written elevator pitch, a tool for enhancing you brand and enticing the manager to want to meet you to learn more.
Simply Put: If you have no Rap, you gets no Dap!
2) Know who your audience is -Its best to always have a specific contact name in which your letter of inquiry is addressed. It shows professionalism on your part as well as indicating that you have done your research. But, several circumstances prevent one from having an actual name. In this case, "Dear Hiring Manager" should do the trick.
3) Basic Cover Letter Outline
The purpose of your letter, brief description of your professional background, Details your motivation for working with the company
Highlight current and past job experiences and how they relate to the job opening (specificity is key)
-Your Time to Shine (another section of body)
Provide the employer with the characteristics youhave and how you can use those traits to help the organization. Incorporate several terms that the job opening used in the posting i.e. if the posting is looking for someone who is dedicated, motivated, and a team player, make sure you include a statement saying such in your letter.
Mention any attachments included in this application packet and provide opportunity for organization to follow up. Also, state your intentions to follow up. Last but not least, thank your audience for their time and consideration and dont forget to include a salutation i.e. Regards, Sincerely, or Respectfully Yours.
4) Proper Letter Format - Include Return Address, Date, Greeting, and Salutation. Grammar and punctuation should also be correct.
Final Thoughts: Cover Letters only help to enhance your brand as the dedicated, motivated, valiant professional that you are so dont blow it. Always go above and beyond the minimum requirements and remember that positivity never fails!