6 Cover Letter Writing Tips to Get You Noticed
Cover letters may be the most overlooked tool in the job seeker’s tool belt. Especially in today’s digital world many job seekers are skipping the cover letter all together. This can be a big mistake. Not paying enough attention to your cover letter could be the only thing standing between you and an interview at a great company. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re sending out resumes along with a well written cover letter.
- Be specific to the job and company. Many people include a line such as “I am perfectly qualified for this position.” Without any elaboration this is an empty statement. Instead, leave that phrase out and be more specific about why you’re a fit for the company. “I have 12 years’ experience in internet security and saved the company over a million dollars with my purchasing decisions during that time.”
- Understand the industry. Another big failure on the part of cover letters is being overly general about the industry. This may be something like, “I am very interested in working for your company.” Once again, this needs to be more specific. “I know that you have been an industry leader in financial planning and I am interested in becoming part of your analyst department.”
- Request an interview. The closing line of your cover letter is the call to action. Rather than thanking them for their time in advance why not ask for what you really want? Close your letter with something like this, “Thank you for taking the time to read over my resume. I am available for an interview right away so when can I expect a call from your company?” Always include your contact information in this line so they don’t have to look it up.
- Avoid buzz words. For years job seekers have been inexplicable encouraged to include phrases on their resumes that don’t actually say anything. Things such as “I am a team player,” or “a self-starter,” don’t mean anything. Instead, use examples to describe these things. “In 2012 I led my team in a large scale project for IBM that resulted in significantly increased revenue and bigger partnership opportunities.”
- Use keywords. The opposite of buzzwords are keywords. These can get easily overused but can be effective in the right amounts. A keyword is a word pulled directly from the company job description or advertisement. Use their own language to entice them to give your cover letter and resume a closer look.
- Edit and proofread before sending. Finally, the most important thing you can do before hitting send on your electronic cover letter and attached resume is to edit and proofread everything. A letter with glaring grammatical or spelling errors will be dismissed immediately. It can be helpful to ask someone else to look it over or you can read it out loud to see if anything sounds wrong.