Your resume must have a cover letter when you apply for a job.
Why is the cover letter important?
- It is the first impression that you will make.
- It convinces the employer to read your resume and call you for an interview. It has to be powerful.
What does the cover letter do?
- It introduces who you are.
- It is a summary of why you are a good fit for the job.
- It explains important points in your career. For example, how important your work was to your previous employer/s, or what your top skills are.
To make a powerful cover letter, it should be:
- Specific and genuine
- The first sentences should say why you are writing to them and why they need you.
- Go straight to the point and be original.
- Read Careerealism’s fresh new ways to start a cover letter to be inspired.
- Express your enthusiasm and passion for the job. One way to do this is to connect your top skills to the company’s values.
- Research about the company to know which skills to highlight.
- Don’t repeat your resume.
- Instead, explain how you got a promotion, or commendation. Express which parts of the job you love and excel in.
- Don’t just tell them that you are a hard worker. Give examples.
- Tell them clearly what you can contribute to the company.
- Never use “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear HR or Recruitment Manager”.
- Find out the name of the hiring manager or the head of the department you are applying to.
- Visit the company website or search on Google or LinkedIn. You can also call the company and ask.
- Use a warm salutation like “Sincerely” or “Kind regards”.
- Sign your cover letter for that personal touch (if by mail).
Easy to access and read
- Follow instructions in the want ad.
- Check if you need to send the letter in a certain format (examples: document or pdf). Or whether as an attachment or body of an email.
- Make it easy for them to open and read your letter.
Formal and concise
- Your letter should always look professional.
- Use the active voice.
- Don’t forget to thank the recruiter for their time.
- Don’t use fancy fonts, emoticons or loud colors.
- The letter should be one-page, with 2-3 paragraphs.
- Have a plan to follow-up.
- Mention in the letter that you will call after a week or a few days.
- Use the opportunity to check if they received your application or schedule the meeting or interview.
- Read and check the letter before sending it out.
- Ask someone else to read your cover letter. Another person will be able to see the errors better than you.
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Get more tips and cover letter samples here: A Guide to Writing Cover Letters and Other Employment-related Letters, Career Development Manitoba.
Attend an employment seminar to learn more. Go to Manitoba Start. Or ask the help of a career counsellor from the Manitoba Jobs and Skills Development Centres in the eight regions of Manitoba.
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