Many would-be employees put plenty of focus on their resumes and polishing the old interview skills, but tend to put cover letters by the wayside. Almost added as a mere introduction to the CV, plenty of people disregard just how important a cover letter is.
Don’t be one of those people, lest you want to dramatically decrease your chances of landing yourself a job. According to Lee Tracy from Hajoca’s management development program the following 5 tips will help you write a standout cover letter that will propel you to the front of the queue when it comes to getting invited to a job interview.
Look at Samples
It’s difficult to put virtual pen to paper and get started from scratch. Luckily, the web offers plenty of samples that can provide the framework for your cover letter. Whether from a proper job site or someone’s personal blog, there are good resources out there for you. Make sure you use them.
Don’t just stick to the first sample you see either. Take a look at a wide range of options. It also helps to find industry-specific cover letters, as the nuances of what’s expected can be different between fields.
Don’t be Overly Formulaic
The only caveat that must be emphasized is that you should NOT use the sample we talk about in the point above as the carbon copy template for your application. Remember that employers get dozens if not hundreds of applications from hungry graduates on a daily basis.
Delivering a generic piece that looks exactly like everything else out there will leave your would-be employer unimpressed. While you certainly want to come across as professional, don’t confuse that with dry, boring, and impersonal.
Don’t Give Your Life Story
The mistake many applicants make is making their cover letters far too long. You want to be engaging and interesting, but it should be quick and snappy. Don’t make your cover letter a novel.
Employers not only have too little time to read your life story, but it also gives off a bad impression. Long cover letters ooze a ‘Me, Myself and I’ mentality – they also display a lack of effectiveness.
Clear and Simple
Your cover letter should be easy to read and employers should be able to quickly glance at it to get the relevant details they need. An organized paragraph structure, your details clearly laid out, and a format that’s easy to digest will help take your application to the interview pile.
Customize Your Cover Letters
Employers can smell a template from miles away. If they even get a sniff that you’ve simply cut and pasted the company name into relevant fields, you’re never going to get that interview you’re hoping for.
Instead, do your homework on each and every company you’re applying to. Know what makes them tick and the type of language they use. The company website will give you a good idea of how they like their copy. Focus on conveying the message that you know the organization inside and out. You want to work for them in particular. Show them why.
While putting this much effort into a mere cover letter may seem like overkill, it will propel your application to the next level. Employers will see that you’ve given attention and care to each and every bit of your application and you’ll have a much higher chance of being invited for an interview.
With the job market more competitive than ever, don’t you think it’s worth putting in the extra effort? Trust us, it is. So ditch those standardized templates and get working on implementing the above tips.