By Joe Stein
5 Cover Letter Tips!
A Cover Letter is a document separate from the resume that allows you to narratively introduce your candidacy and, more personally, “sell yourself” in comparison to the open position.
Below are 5 easy tips to get the most out of your Cover Letter:
- Make Sure You Have One – For some reason many Job Seekers still omit a Cover Letter when sending a resume. The general rule of thumb is whenever you use a resume to apply for a position; a Cover Letter should accompany it.
- Maintain Your Professional Standards – The Cover Letter can be tricky for individuals because it requires proper grammar and sentence structure. Unlike the resume, which is a chronological listing of dates and accomplishments, the Cover Letter is in actual letterform. Make sure you spell check and thoroughly reread your document. It is always recommended to have a friend or family member read your documents as an extra set of eyes. Use the same quality paper you have used for your resume and match the envelope to this style.
- Customize It – Each Cover Letter should be written for the opening you are applying to. Place the address of the organization in the letter and try to direct it to a specific person. You can attempt to learn a name either from the ad or by calling the company. Make sure to note in the 1st paragraph how you heard about the opening and specifically what position you are applying for. Sign each Cover Letter using crisp black ink if sending hard copy.
- Sell Yourself – The Cover Letter is where you have the space to “sell” yourself using narrative to describe your experiences and accomplishments. Review what you know of the position either from an advertisement or what a networking contact has told you and match your skills to this information. When you are done, a Recruiter in 3-4 sentences should have a basic feel for why you are applying and why you are a candidate that should be phone screened.
- Keep it Short – A Cover Letter only adds value for you if the Recruiter reads the document. Recruiters are so busy that a long Cover Letter reduces your chances of having it reviewed. A Cover Letter of three paragraphs is a good length to tell your story but also keep the interest of the reader. The 1st paragraph should inform the Recruiter of what you are applying for and where you heard about the opening. The 2nd paragraph is where you sell yourself and prove why you should be interviewed. The 3rd paragraph finds you closing the letter, providing your contact information and a time when you will contact the Recruiter as a follow-up.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional