If you’re in the market for a new job, you not only need a great résumé, but an eye-catching cover letter as well. A cover letter is your chance to explain the dates and facts on your résumé in a more personalized way. Failure to send a cover letter comes off as lazy or disinterested, so don’t skip this important step.
The following five techniques can help you create a letter that grabs employers’ attention and increases your chances of landing the job.
1. Know who you’re talking to. When drafting your cover letter, do a little research, and find out who the appropriate contact person is instead of just writing, “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom it May Concern.”
2. Introduce yourself. The first paragraph of your cover letter should concisely state what position you’re applying for and why you think you qualify. You should also include how you heard about the job.
3. Show interest and enthusiasm. When they’re sorting through piles of résumés one thing that attracts employers’ attention is an applicant’s excitement about the job opening. If you want to stand out from the rest, make sure your enthusiasm comes through in your cover letter. However, be careful to let your words show your excitement. Using smiley faces, excessive exclamation points, bolding or italics can come off as unprofessional.
4. Highlight important areas of your résumé. Your cover letter is your opportunity to expand on the facts in your résumé, not repeat them. To target your cover letter to the needs of each employer, compare the job posting against your résumé. You can then provide further detail on your experiences and skills that are most relevant to the employer’s job opening.
5. End on a high note. To wrap up your cover letter, reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and why you believe you are an excellent choice. State that you will be following up within a designated time period to ensure they received your materials and to discuss the possibility of an interview. Then be sure you actually follow up within the time period you listed.
A great cover letter gives you another opportunity to impress employers and grab their attention, so make sure you take the time to write a winning letter.