A good cover letter is like making a good first impression. This is the first chance for you to make a good impression on the hiring manager. As a potential employee, you want to a make a strong first impression, and your resume is only the tip of the iceberg. A cover letter is more personal and talks more about you and your skills. Here are a few tips to write the perfect cover letter.
Stay away from the cliches
Before you begin writing your cover letter, remember to stay away from generic formats. It is important that your cover letter should reflect you and be as unique as possible. Generic templates that ask you to just fill in the blanks would not do justice. A generic cover letter neither makes a good impression nor makes you stand out as an interesting potential employee.
This is the most important part of your cover letter because if they don’t know how to contact you, how will they schedule a potential interview? That aside, the header should include your name, contact information, email address, and a professional title in case you are currently working. Beneath that should be the name of the hiring manager and their job title. All it takes is a little internet sleuthing to find out this information. Make sure to mention the name of the company as well.
The first paragraph should be about you. Introduce yourself, tell them what position you are applying for, and how you came to know about this position. The first paragraph is crucial in establishing a base for your candidacy. The next thing to mention in the first paragraph is a brief introduction to your degree, educational background, and a one-liner about how your career goals fit with the company’s goals.
Sell your brand
The current environment is one where you need to create a personal brand and sell that brand to the potential employers to stand out. The second part of the cover letter, the body, should include how and why you are a good fit for this job. Mention relevant work experience, skills or projects you have done in the past that are similar to what the company is looking for. This helps the reader understand how you will fit into the company. To add something extra, you can include insights into the company’s industry and talk about why you would be a good fit in this work environment.
Different than your resume
Remember, you already have a resume. Your cover letter cannot be an explanation of your resume. You need to offer something different in your cover letter. Simply stating where you worked before and your work title is as good as just copy pasting your resume in this format. Explain the skills you picked up, how you learned those skills, etc.
Always conclude your cover letter strongly. A call-to-action is preferable, wherein you mention how they can get in touch or that you look forward to the in-person interview, etc. Thank them for taking some time out and reading your cover letter. A cover letter is an extension of your resume where you dig deep into the relevant skills. It is not your resume, so read, re-read and edit your cover letter until you are sure it will get you the job.