A lot of people question if cover letters are relevant to the modern-day job search. Whether they are or not, most job openings still ask you to provide one and even if they don’t applying via email implies you’ll provide a cover letter in the message. You’d never just send a resume.
Cover letters can be tricky to write. You want to show your personality, discuss your qualifications, + show you’re a good fit to the company without summing up your resume. When ever I write cover letters I typically break them down into 5 simple parts.
If you are uploading a cover letter to an automated database, you may not want to include a salutation. However, if it is via email, I would include a basic greeting or something timely like “Happy Wednesday.” If you know who the cover letter is going to be sure to address it to them.
You’ll then want to add a sentence or two indicating which position you are interested in + where you heard about the opening. This is especially important if you have a personal or connection to the company. Also include a reason why you may want to work there.
The first “full” paragraph should be a brief summary hitting the highlights of your experience. I include where I graduated college + a vague description of my experience: “I have worked in the social media and marketing departments of a Fortune 100 transportation company, international retailer, and an emerging technology company.” I also write a sentence or two detailing my role at my last company.
This paragraph has two functions. Pick a few of your strongest skills + discuss them in more detail. Be sure they are skills pertinent to the role you are applying for. Use this opportunity to use terminology used in the job listing. This could increase your chances of getting an interview. I highlight different skills depending on whether the role is PR, social media, or marketing.
Fit for the Role
I like to explain how I can benefit the company or fulfill the role. I say things about how my background in agency and corporate gives me a better understanding of what clients want. Or, how my experience working in different industries has enabled me to be able to create content around any subject matter.
Like the greeting, the closing is two-fold. At the end of my cover letter I add a sentence that says: “I think my background matches well with what you seem to be looking for.” I then provide a link to my website where they can find additional information and to contact me if they have any questions outside of my resume.
Be sure that your cover letter is specific for the opening you are applying for. Hiring managers and recruiters can tell a carbon copy from a mile away. Make sure your personality shines through and lets people see who you really are. It will make you more memorable.
Good luck on your cover letter and job search. If you have any if you have any tips, post them in the comment section below or send them to me on Twitter.
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