Your cover letter is your opportunity to inject personality into your application and set yourself apart from the competition.
Don’t waste the space simply regurgitating your resume, instead follow these five essential cover letter tips to stand out.
1. Speak Their Language
You’ve probably heard of “mirroring” tone and body language as a way to build rapport in-person. Well the same goes for mirroring the language you use in your cover letter. Read through the job description and company website carefully, watching for tone and the company “voice”. Are they casual and conversational, or more traditional and formal? Speak their language, use their tone and build yourself as a reflection of their brand.
2. Explain “Why Me”
Your cover letter should give the top-level summary of why you are a great fit for the role. Focus on relevant accomplishments and experience. Try to quantify your achievements as much as possible – dollars amounts, percentages, time saved. Make sure you address any key criteria identified in the job posting.
3. Explain “Why Us”
It’s not all about you. Hiring managers want to know what drew you this job and what it is about their company that attracts you. General compliments won’t fly here, be sincere and do your research. Whether it’s the culture, the product/service, the industry, the type of work, or all of the above – find a way to provide genuine compliments and show your interest.
4. Don’t Waste the First Sentence
“I wish to apply for X position at Y Company that I saw posted on Z job board.” – This is a terrible waste of space. You can put the position in your subject line and be done with it. Instead, use that valuable first sentence to grab attention with the start of your pitch from #2. If you have been referred by someone known to the hiring manager, mention this in your first sentence as referrals usually get precedence over other applications.
5. Show off your Trophy Collection
Slipping in a mention of any awards, recognition or endorsements you received can add a little oomph to your letter. But only if it’s relevant! Industry awards will have more weight than internal awards, unless you’re a sales professional. If you have a position within any important circles of influence, mention it here as well – board of directors, committees, councils etc.
And, as always – check spelling, grammar and proofread multiple times! Have someone you trust proofread it for you as well. Nothing destroys all your great work in tips 1-5 like sloppy spelling and grammar.
Follow these five cover letter tips to really sell yourself and prove to a hiring manager that you’re worth a closer look.