8 cover letter qualities that will get you that interview

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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:

  1. 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.

  2. Enthusiastic
    • 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.

  3. Not repetitive
    • 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.

  4. Personalized
    • 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Proactive
    • 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.

  8. Error-free
    • 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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Community Resources

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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