Since hiring managers spend an average of just 10 seconds reviewing each cover letter they receive, how do you best make this happen?
Instead of cutting and pasting phrases from your resume or the job posting, use your cover letter to show your creativity, personality, and interest in the position.
- Focus on the company and its needs. Then, demonstrate how you can help meet them.
- Customize it to the corporate culture. No two companies are alike. It’s important to strike the right tone in your cover letter. Is the culture more formal or casual? If you know, you can reflect it. If you’re not sure, err on the side of being a bit more formal.
- Address it to the current hiring manager. Do a Google search and find a name. This shows your initiative in learning more about the company and its team.
Make it Concise
When it comes to the most effective cover letters, less is more.
- In a recent survey of hiring managers, 44 percent agreed that half a page is the ideal cover letter length. Only 12 percent expected to see a full page.
- Three paragraphs is a good guideline. The first is introductory, the second includes a brief summary of your qualifications as they relate to the position, and the third is your wrap-up.
- Your summary paragraph should include two or three qualities the company wants in a candidate. Support these with specific examples of how you’ve successfully applied these skills.
Make it Compelling
Craft a strong opening and then tell your success story.
- Start with a bold statement that catches the reader’s eye. Stay away from – yawn – standard lines like “Attached is my resume in response to your job posting for a sales manager. “ Instead, say something like, “Are you seeking a results-oriented sales pro with proven success in leading teams to exceed quotas?”
- Include statistics to back up your statements. Instead of “adept at social media,” say “led social media campaign that generated 300,000 followers in one month and increased revenue by 5 percent.”
With today’s technology, make sure that your cover letter is accessible and easily readable.
- Include keywords. Increasingly, employers are using applicant tracking systems to review resumes and cover letters. If you include the right keywords, yours will have a better chance of being selected.
- Send it as a PDF. Virtually every computer can open this format without a file conversion. Conversions are less than ideal because often, recipients simply don’t bother to do them. They also can lead to formatting errors.
Finish It Strong
Make every word count, right down to your signature.
- Conclude by saying when and how you’ll get in touch. Indicate your plan for following up with the employer.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread! Do it thoroughly yourself and then have someone else do it as well. There is absolutely no room for error on your cover letter.
A professional career coach can partner with you to perfect your cover letter and resume – and strategize and execute your successful career search. Contact the team at PrideStaff Fresno to learn more.