More often than not, the key to getting an interview is your cover letter. To compel the employer to read your resume, your cover letter must be well written, error-free, and attention-grabbing. Here are a few additional tips you can consider:
Your cover letter should answer the question: “What problems can I solve for you?”
Many times we get carried away, listing all our credentials and achievements on the cover letter. We are so intent on impressing the employer that we forget to say how these skills would actually help the company. A good practice would be to outline the urgent needs mentioned in the job ad and then clearly explain how these needs would be met because of your relevant skills and experience. If this is not evident in the job ad, you may need to do a little bit of research on the company. Check the company’s website and look for the mission, vision or goals. You can also search through industry news to see if there are current issues the company considers a priority.
Remember that the cover letter is not the short version of your resume. It is an introduction that should compel the employer to be interested in you enough to read your resume.
Tell a story
One way to stand out from the rest is to make your cover letter memorable. A good way to do this is to tell a story. Maybe you have had an experience that taught you a lesson or moulded you to have certain traits. An example would be an experience that made you more compassionate to a cause or made you strive to become a better ________ (fill in the blank with your profession). Or, you may have a unique quality that you think would be interesting for the employer to know. You can use this as your lead (how you start your letter) to have impact. And then connect your story to the corresponding qualities the employer is looking for.
Another style that you can try is to use a casual, conversational tone. This means writing as if you are talking to the employer in front of you. This will make your cover letter easy to read, personable, and will show some hints of your personality. A word of caution though. This style may not work for all job types. Some industries may prefer the traditional formal business letter, which leads us to the next tip…
Adapt your letter to the industry you are applying to
If you’re applying for a writer, artist, or designer position (or any other jobs in the creative field), the informal and unconventional cover letter may be well received. You can use the cover letter to showcase your creativity, maybe even your sense of humor. Also, if the company you are applying to fosters a young, hip, and casual image (an IT start-up, for example), then you may choose to veer away from the formal tone.
However, if your industry prefers the more conventional format and style, then stick to it. Don’t try to be casual and breezy just to catch their attention. Your letter may become memorable for the wrong reasons.
Ask for the job
Don’t forget to ask for the job. Make sure that you will leave no doubt in the employer’s mind that you want the job. Show that you are enthusiastic about the prospect of joining their company.
Tie it all together with a strong closing
Your last paragraph can be a summary of the benefits that they can get if they hire you. You can reiterate your strengths or unique traits that make you the ideal candidate. End on a high note by showing your enthusiasm and openness by saying “I look forward to hearing from you soon” or “I would love to meet with you to discuss how I can help.”
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1. According to the article, what qualities should a good cover letter have?
2. Select the correct synonym(s) for the word “compel”.
3. Select the correct definition for the word “memorable”.
4. The article suggests telling a story to make your cover letter memorable. Which of the following could be included in a cover letter?
5. Select the correct definition for the word “personable”.
6. According to the article, companies that have a casual image might appreciate an informal or unconventional cover letter.
7. Select the correct synonym(s) for the word “conventional”.
8. Select the correct synonym(s) for the word “reiterate”.
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