What Makes A Great Cover Letter
Here are some pointers on how to craft a great cover letter:
1. Use details to show how your experience is relevant. Make points in your cover letter that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Is it a marketing job? Specify the roles you've played and tasks you've undertaken that make you a qualified candidate. If your cover letter looks like a template, the recruiter will likely feel you aren't making an effort, and the letter probably won't speak to why you'd be a great fit for the job you're applying to.
2. Give it personality. Avoid sounding monotonous or boring in your cover letter; recruiters will assume you're like that in person, too. Be excited about the position (but avoid using exclamation points), and be inspired by the work you would do for the company.
3. Be confident. Sign the letter "I look forward to hearing from you" rather than "I hope to hear from you and that you think I am qualified for the role." Assume you will hear from the company in your tone -- otherwise they will sense your lack of confidence and question your qualifications.
4. Use proper spelling and grammar. The best way to turn off a recruiter is to use improper grammar or spelling. This says that you don't have an eye for detail, that you don't necessarily truly care to work at the company and that you'll make the same kinds of mistakes when you come on board. No one wants internal or client communications to be filled with errors; it's bad business. To brush up on your grammar for free, check out EnglishGrammar101.com for online grammar lessons.
5. Allude to your network as it pertains to the job. Networking is a critical part of your job search today. If you've met someone within the company, reference that person and why they inspired you to apply. It helps even more if the person you're submitting your resume to is someone you've met-tell them why you enjoyed meeting them and why you'd like to work with them. (Appealing to their ego doesn't hurt!) You can network your way into the job without looking desperate.
6. Consider length. It's critical that your cover letter not be too long. Keep it concise and to the point. Recruiters read so many cover letters in a day they might only skim the really long ones. You want to be heard, so keep that cover letter tight.
Before sending the letter, read it over and put yourself in the recruiter's shoes. In a sea of competitive cover letters, is this a cover letter you'd be inspired to respond to?
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