Did you know for every job post, on average there are roughly 250 applicants that apply to the position, meaning you need your cover letter to stand out as this letter will be the employer’s first impression of you. An employer may not even move on to your resume if your cover letter does not appeal to them!
In saying that, let’s go through some ways to improve our cover letters to secure that dream job for us.
A cover letter should always be about whoever you are applying to, so make it about them. If you are unsure about the business, Do some research. For example, if you are applying for an IT job at Microsoft, tell them what excites you about their workplace compared to their competencies such as Apple.
Cut your cover letter down, don’t just clutter it to make it longer! An employer could be reading up to hundreds of different cover letters so make sure your one is meaningful and stands out. Every single word used in your cover letter should be valuable and actually support you in landing the job. A way to ensure your cover letter stands out is to hover over it for 10 seconds and see what catches your eye, if nothing catches your eye in that short amount of time, make changes. Try it out! Remember, quality over quantity. Your letter should only be 1 page.
When you apply for different jobs you should be editing your cover letter. An employer can easily spot the differences between the same generic cover letter that is used over and over for different jobs vs a cover letter that has specifically been edited for a position. Editing your cover letter makes your letter more authentic and shows the employer you are actually interested in the position!
A difference between your cover letter and your resume is that your cover letter can be a form of communication with the employer, whereas your resume is simply a summary of your achievements and skills. This is your chance to talk to the employer and tell them why you are interested and why you are the best candidate for the job. If the job is your dream job, tell them! However, don’t waste valuable space on your cover letter by using information that is already covered in your resume. In saying that, don’t lie on your cover letter. If you exaggerated your interests and make it to the interview stage, you will be left red-faced after.
In some cover letters, candidates tend to include what they’re missing. For example, a candidate may include a certain skill they lack in. Don’t do this, you don’t need to mention your weaknesses in your cover letter! Use this time to highlight the skills you have and why you are the best fit candidate for the position.
An obvious tip – Proofread. If you have typos or any other errors in your cover letter, this proves to the employer you lack attention to detail, which is a skill needed in any career. Errors in your cover letter will significantly reduce your chances of landing the job. Get your friends or family to read over it for you!
Finally, make sure you follow the instructions listed in the job posting on how to send your cover letter to the employer, again failure in doing this proves to the employer you lack attention to detail. The employer may want your cover letter attached to your resume and emailed to them, may want it uploaded to an application, may want them sent separately. So make sure you read carefully!
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