Is your current resume preventing you from getting noticed by potential employers? If you answered yes to either question, pay attention. Writing a cover letter to include with your resume and application could be the difference between getting a paycheck and unemployment. A well-written cover letter is what you need to improve your chances of being interviewed and being hired.
Cover Letter Components
The first thing that needs to be included in a cover letter is a greeting. This greeting is the beginning of a conversation with your prospective employer. It’s a little less formal than a resume, but should still be kept very professional. When addressing the hiring manager, don’t use generic greetings like “To Whom It May Concern”. If you don’t know the name or title of the hiring manager, call their office and find out. Don’t make any assumptions about the hiring manager. If you can’t find more info on LinkedIn, stick to names and titles you’ve been given.
Next is your personal introduction. This needs to grab their attention. Since hiring managers can read several cover letters a day, yours has to stand out from the beginning. If hiring managers aren’t interested in the first little bit of your letter, they may not even finish it. Before writing your cover letter, research the company’s background and mission statement. Tie this into your introduction. This shows you care about working for them and that you already share some of their values. Follow that up with the reason you want to work for them.
After a good introduction, it’s time to list your qualifications. This is not as easy as it sounds. You must list what you have to offer the company without completely re-stating your resume. Don’t make a list of duties and past jobs, but highlight how your skills have impacted past work you’ve done.
At the close of the cover letter, include any skills or experience you haven’t mentioned before that would be beneficial to the company. The conclusion should complement your letter, and tie it all together. Close with a note about your desire to meet in person and discuss the job further.
Cover Letter Tips
The most important thing you can do for your cover letter is proofread and spell check. Then, do it again. Then, have someone else do it. Having someone else read your letter is crucial. Since the letter is your creation, you won’t always catch mistakes you’ve made when writing it.
Writing a cover letter must be taken seriously. A generic form letter, or a copy and pasted cover letter is a big mistake. Hiring managers receive resumes constantly, and a well-written cover letter can convince them to take a longer look at your resume and potentially give you a better shot at future employment.
When writing your cover letter, make it specific to the job. Make sure you include keywords in your letter related to the company and the industry. Some companies use software to screen applications for certain keywords. Using industry-specific terms and phrases shows you’ve put in the time to research the company and that you care about the job you’re applying for.
If you need further help in your job search, MiSource can help connect you to employers and job opportunities. Connect with us today to start the conversation.
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