If you’re looking for a job, you’ve likely read that cover letters are your best chance at standing out from the competition.
But cover letters can be tricky to write. Use these seven tips to make sure yours is effective and memorable—and get the interview!
1. Be specific.
Specificity is important in a cover letter. You should always be specific about what you are talking about and how it relates to the job that you are applying for. This means using numbers, statistics and examples.
Use “you” or “we” when possible:
Instead of saying “I am a hard worker,” write something like this: “I would love to work with your company because I know that we could accomplish great things together.”
It’s more personal, which makes it feel more like an invitation than an application form!
Use numbers when possible:
For example: “My sales numbers were over 20% higher than last year’s average for our industry.” Numbers help prove your point without sounding too boastful or arrogant (which no one likes).
2. Follow directions carefully.
It’s important to make sure that you know what the employer wants. If they give you a template, or if they ask for something specific, follow their instructions and guidelines carefully.
If there are no instructions or guidelines provided by the employer (and most companies won’t provide this), it’s up to you to do your research before sending off your application materials.
You can get some free templates and examples at Indeed.com.
3. Write it like a story, not a form letter.
When writing your cover letter, don’t be afraid to show your personality and individuality.
You want the employer to see that you’re more than just another candidate; you are an individual who will bring something special to their company.
If there is anything about yourself that would make you stand out as someone they would want on their team, include it!
4. Understand the job and the company.
Before you write a cover letter, you need to understand the job and the company. If possible, get your hands on the job description and read it thoroughly.
You should also familiarize yourself with who posted the job (if it’s an internal posting) and who will be hiring (if it’s an external opening).
This can help you tailor your cover letter so that it highlights relevant skills and experiences while also demonstrating how much time and effort have gone into preparing for this opportunity.
5. Be confident, but not boastful.
You want to be confident in your cover letter, but don’t go overboard with the bragging.
It’s okay to mention some of your accomplishments and skills, but don’t make it sound like you’re better than everyone else who applied for the position.
Also avoid superlatives like “best” or “most qualified.” These words will make it seem like you think highly of yourself, and that’s not what employers want when they’re looking at their applicants!
Similarly, you may want to show off how much knowledge you have about something specific, but there’s no need for buzzwords or over-the-top statements here; just stick with simple facts and figures instead.
6. Focus on their problems, not your own.
When you’re writing your cover letter, focus on their problems and how you can solve them. Don’t talk about yourself!
This is a common mistake people make when applying for jobs–they try to sell themselves too hard.
Instead of focusing on what makes you an attractive candidate, show the employer how well-suited your skills and abilities are for solving the company’s problems. For example:
“I’m a college graduate with extensive experience in sales and marketing.”
That sounds great, but it doesn’t tell us anything about whether or not this person would be an asset at our company (or any other). Instead:
“My background in sales and marketing has given me extensive experience working with clients from all types of industries who have varied needs.”
7. Proofread and proofread again.
Proofreading your cover letter is crucial. You want to make sure that it’s clear and concise, with no mistakes or typos.
There are three main areas where people often make mistakes in their cover letters: spelling, grammar and punctuation.
A lot of employers won’t even bother reading your application if they see an obvious error (or even just one). So proofread carefully before sending off any application materials – especially if English isn’t your first language!
You could also ask somebody else to read over it for you – this could be a friend or family member who knows how important this opportunity is for you; or even better yet ask someone who has experience writing cover letters themselves!
We hope that these tips will help you to write an effective cover letter. Remember, the goal is to get an interview, so be sure your letter is well-written and engaging enough to do just that!
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