A well-written cover letter can easily make the difference when it comes to getting your dream job. Cover letters are possibly the best way to reach out to a potential employer on a personal level even before you land an interview. Follow these steps to a great first impression through your cover letter:
- Don’t skip it even if it is optional! The biggest mistake would be to assume that a cover letter is not needed. The only time when it is acceptable to not send a cover letter is when the job description clearly mentions not including it or when there is no way to upload one.
- Tailor it to the company and the position you are applying for A generic, ‘one size fits all’ cover letter could actually do more harm than good. Take your time to research and understand the company and what they are looking for in a candidate. Draft a unique letter accordingly.
- Address it to the right person Make sure that the cover letter is addressed to the person who is likely to handle the application. Many job descriptions include the name of the contact person. If a contact person cannot be found, use greetings like ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ or ‘Dear Recruiting Team’. Avoid using dated expressions like ‘Dear Sir of Madam’ or ‘To Whom It May Concern’.
- Follow an appropriate tone… This is where thoroughly researching the company comes handy. Write the cover letter in a tone that reflects the company’s culture as well as the current industry trends. For example, a formal tone would work for a traditional business while a slightly informal but professional tone would work better for creative startups.
- …and structure There is no fixed structure that a cover letter must follow but it is very helpful to divide it in a way that answers these major questions concisely:
- What is the position you are applying for and where did you hear about the opportunity?
- Who are you professionally?
- Why are you interested in the job?
- Why are you a good fit for the role?
- Make it personal Use the cover letter to your advantage to show your personality beyond what is contained in the CV. Include any personal experiences which are relevant for the opportunity.
- Include a call to action Close the cover letter with a few sentences to thank the potential employer for considering your application and to reiterate your motivation to apply for the job.
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