Cover Letters: What Works and What Doesn’t
A cover letter is one of the most important aspects in finding a job. Sure, the interview is important and can definitely make or break your chances of getting the job, but without an amazing cover letter, you won’t even get an interview. Fortunately, there are a variety of tips that can make drastic improvements to your cover letter.
While this is generally a good rule for any writing, this is especially true for cover letters. Think about how many cover letters most companies receive for a single position. If it takes them more than a few seconds to read the purpose of the letter and why you’re valuable for the position, it may have well been sent to the wrong address.
Beyond staying on topic, it’s best to cut down wordy sentences and clunky phrasing. If you ever see redundant of words or ideas in your letter, you must trim them out. Your goal is to achieve the most clarity with the least amount of words.
Don’t send something with typos!
As obvious as this sounds, you’d be surprised how often this occurs. The sad thing is, this often happens to people who update their cover letter and resume often and often have several different cover letters and resumes for various positions. Even I’ve had the unfortunate experience of making a last-minute edit on a resume and having that turn into a huge blunder that lost me the potential job. Don’t let it happen to you! Read carefully over your entire application, even if you only made slight edits.
Do personally address the letter
There’s nothing more unimpressive than “To Whom it May Concern.” What this really says is, “I didn’t bother to research to whom I’m supposed to send this.” What’s worse is letters that open in this way are often spam; the hiring manager might not even get a chance to read the letter! Always try to research their website or call them to find out who you’re sending the letter to. If they ask not to call and you find no information, at least address it as “Dear Hiring Manager for _____ Company.”
Don’t send a generic cover letter
Don’t just think you can write one cover letter to every job posting. Hiring managers can usually spot these easily. Instead, alter your cover letter to address the company and its needs specifically. Do some research on the company. Find out who they are and how you fit within their grand scheme. It doesn’t matter how skilled or well-written you are, if you don’t appear to (1)know the needs and philosophy of the company and (2)demonstrate how you fulfill and connect with these, you won’t impress them.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.