We all know how important is it to have a top-class resume to deliver to your prospective employer or company recruitment officer, but many job seekers tend to forget how crucial it is to back up your resume with a solid cover letter.
A killer cover letter will also help you stand out from the crowd when employers are sorting through their list of prospectives. Many people also make the huge mistake of keeping a generic cover letter on file and sending it to multiple employers without a second thought. Big mistake!
It would come as no surprise to find most people have sent out the same cover letter to prospective employers at one point or another. This is especially true if you have been looking for work or trying to change career for some time. We all tend to get a bit weary of the constant application process over time.
Harsh as it may sound, the reality is that neglecting your cover letter can lose you that job, no matter how good your resume is. Many people think that your resume showing your skills, qualifications and work experience should be enough. Sadly this isn’t true.
Make sure you have an exceptional cover letter to back up your resume and you will be sure to stand out from all the other candidates. Employers have to wade through hundreds of applications to sort out their shortlist. Take your chance to show how perfect you are for the role and make it impossible for them to ignore you.
How to make writing your cover letter easier
If you are not a natural born writer, or even if you are, crafting a killer cover letter can seem hellishly difficult to achieve. Many people make the job more complicated than it actually is, so let’s take a look at how to simplify your cover letter writing.
Basically, a good cover letter needs to get across three important things:
- You have the necessary skills to fit the job at hand;
- You have strong communication skills; and
- You will seamlessly fit in with their team.
So how exactly do you convey these three points in your one page cover letter?
Start out strong and to the point. You need to grab the readers attention, so anything wishy-washy or too vague will be very boring to read and will see your letter consigned to the bin in the first 15 seconds of reading. The first sentences of your letter are the most valuable. Don’t beat around the bush here – launch straight into why you are perfect for the job.
Here is an example of an attention grabbing introduction:
“You are looking for a person who can communicate extremely well on all levels, someone who is self-assured and confident, and can be trusted to work independently or cooperatively within a team. I believe I am the person you need.”
Once you have your reader hooked, you can then move on to convincing them that your skills and experience are a perfect fit for the role.
Mirror the language of the job description
Most businesses will have their own company language and this is usually reflected in the chosen wording of their job advertisements. You can use this to your advantage by mirroring the language used in the advertisement as much as possible to show how your skills match perfectly with with their needs. For example, if you previously worked as a ‘content writer’ for a company, but this firm calls it ‘copywriting’, then you should also call it copywriting. You are more likely to get noticed if you already speak the same language as the company does!
Remember to inject some personality
Your killer cover letter serves the purpose of demonstrating why you are a good fit for the job in hand, but you don’t want to come across as some sort of unfeeling robot. Employers hire people on a combination of both their skills and their personality. They like to hire people that they can get along with and be able to work well with others. By making your letter conversational in tone and not overly formal, you can demonstrate that you are friendly and approachable. This will add a good feeling to your cover letter that will make it shine.
The key to a killer cover letter is making the employer want to meet you. Steer-clear of those classically overused catchphrases that recruiters see over again in generic cover letters and you should easily stand out from the crowd. Try to avoid phrases like: “I am passionate about…”, “I am a team-player”, and “I am a fast learner.” Believe me, these phrases litter most cover letters and are so overused that employers can go cold at the sight of them.
If you see a job that is worth applying for, always thoughtfully tailor your cover letter to suit the language being used. Avoid boring the reader to death, and inject a bit of your personality to get yourself noticed in a sea of cover letter mediocrity. You can do it!