Perfecting the Cover Letter

How is it that something so short, is so difficult and time consuming to write? It’s because of all the personalization required and nuanced verbiage. Writing a cover letter is a dreadful task. This may be the one thing that no one actually enjoys doing. To make your next cover letter less painful to write, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Match Your Strengths To The Job Description – Tell the hiring authority why you think you would be a good fit for the job. Skills from your resume should match that from the core requirements in the job description.
  2. Keep It Short – Everybody is busy. No one is going to read a long cover letter. Your experience should speak for itself in your resume; the cover letter is just further reading. Do not go through everything you have ever done, but cover specific tasks in which you do well.
  3. Concrete Evidence – If you have lead, or done well on a particular project, let the recruiting team know. Much like ‘Matching your Strengths,’ giving examples shows that you have knowledge of the job and have researched it. It also shows that you have done the job! This is exactly what recruiters and hiring managers want to see.
  4. Why Do You Want To Work There? – Always address this in the cover letter. The resume shows why you would be a good fit for the job. The cover letter explains why you want to work for that company. Companies want to hear this. They want a candidate who has done research and they want someone who actually wants to work for their organization. This explanation does not have to be long – just a sentence or two explaining what has prompted you to apply to this particular company.
  5. Proofread – This is an essential tip. Since you are only going to send that particular cover letter to the company once, look it over a few times. After you have reviewed it a few times, step away from it and come back with a fresh set eyes. Have a friend read and edit it for both typos, punctuation and grammatical errors. Just remember, you will drastically reduce your chance of being considered if your cover letter has a careless error.

Your cover letter is a succinct extension of your resume. The resume conveys your experience and the cover letter shows who you are. In order to perfect the cover letter, isolate a different attribute that is pertinent to the job function and qualifies you as a great fit for the position.

Patrick Coughlin is a Marketing Analyst for Consultants 2 Go.