Workplace Wednesday is back today and I wanted to share some recent cover letter tips that were passed down to me. They came from my professor for my internship class so they are legit. I'm so glad for this lesson since I was terrified of cover letters, but with these useful tips, I now feel (more) confident. But before we begin you first have to throw out any rules you may have previously passed down about cover letters. Done?! Okay now that you're ready, read on and absorb :)
1. Don't Be Generic
The purpose of a cover letter is to write to a specific company for a specific job, so show that. Who ever receives the letter(or email) will know whether or not you've copy and pasted the letter and this practice may also lead to errors such as forgetting to change the date in which case the person will certainly know you use the same letter each time. Following tips will help with tailoring your letter.
2. Match Their Needs
You not only want to stand out, but you want to stand out in a way that's going to lead to an interview. Highlight your skills and why they should hire you, but focus on what they are looking for. For example, if you are applying to a web development app, you want to say what your computer skills are, what program languages you are familiar with and so on, but maybe leave your sales skills out.
3. Don't Have a Short Cover Letter
Try to make the cover letter about a page. Use space in between paragraphs and perhaps a line an inch above the margin(a design choice), because nothing is worst than having a short cover letter. It makes potential employers think there isn't much to you and also shows a lack of effort. It should be about 3-4 paragraphs long and have a heading and an inside address which should fill up the space.
4. Copy Your Resumé Design Scheme
Make your cover letter's design the same as your resumé. It helps create a professional look and keeps things fluid. Plus it makes sure both letter and resumé stand out and easy to remember.
5. Catch Employer's Attention
Open with an attention getting sentence. The example give to us was a student who applied to work for the LA Dodgers. His opening sentence was something along the lines of "I bleed Dodger blue." Sure it may sound over the top, but it got him the interview. Also if you heard of the job through a friend or someone who works for the company, mention their name, as long as they have a good reputation with the potential employer. If you found it otherwise, mention how you found it. Also going back to the first tip, be specific about the job you want. That's the first paragraph.
The following paragraph, or two, should mention skills (matching needs as tip 2 says), strengths and character assets that match the job, what contributions you can offer, why you want to work for that company and any experience that matches their needs. This can be job, internship or volunteer experience. The last paragraph should include a thank you for considering you and should mention your resumé and any other attached documents, for example, writing samples and such. Also remind them that you are capable to do the job and mention you are looking for an interview. Then sign it.
Hope you found the tips as useful as I did. If you have more questions, especially regarding format, let me know in the comments and I will be happy to answer as best I can. Or share some of your own tips. I can even do a separate post about the format and design, including your tips(with credit).