When you fill out applications online, sometimes going to the trouble of writing a cover letter is the last thing you want to do. But the application requires it, so you write something in a few minutes and send it off.
This isn’t really the best way to write a cover letter. Instead of thinking of a cover letter as an annoying thing you have to do at the end of a job application, think of it as something you always have on hand. A cover letter is a tool that can push your application over the edge! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make a cover letter template
Writing a basic cover letter template can save you tons of time. Instead of starting from scratch for each application, you’ll only have to customize and edit your template to make it relevant to the job and company you’re applying for (more on that in a moment).
Your template should cover the essentials: who you are, what makes you a great job candidate, and explanations for anything unique about you as a candidate (for example, if you’re a teacher suddenly applying for jobs in marketing).
Keep things to a half-page or so; you never want to go over one page for a cover letter, and you’ll be adding more text when you customize your template, so brevity is the way to go.
- Customize your template
Now that you have your template, it’s time to change it up to match the opportunity you’re applying for. First, look for keywords in the job description and incorporate them into your resume. If there’s any reason you’re a great match for this type of job or industry, write that down.
After that, go the company website and see what stands out to you about their culture. Add that to your cover letter as well. You want to show that you’re not just a great fit for the job, but for the company as well.
- Double-check your spelling and grammar
One last thing to do before you submit your cover letter! Check for spelling and grammar issues. Your cover letter is your first chance to make a great impression so you want everything tip-top. If you can, ask a friend or family member to proof as well.
Do you have any other cover letter tips? Let us know in the comments section below!