When you apply for a job, it’s standard practice to write a cover letter to go along with each resume.
Cover letters can be crucial in landing the job. Do you know how to write an effective one? Here are 4 tips.
1. Tailor the cover letter to each job
Don’t send a form cover letter unchanged with every resume. It’s likely to sound like a form letter if it is one. Tailor each cover letter to the specific job you’re applying to.
Highlight the reason you have applied to this job and this company in the cover letter. Tell them your qualifications and experience.
Research the company before writing the letter. Is it known for its safety record, for example? You can highlight that as a reason you’d like to work there.
Be sure to match keywords in the job description in your cover letter and resume. Cover letters that don’t use any keywords from the job description are likely to be tossed out by computer before any human eyes see them.
2. Explain why you are the best candidate for the job
Cover letters need to explain why you are the best candidate for the job. You need to highlight specific achievements.
If you received an award for employee of the month or were part of a team receiving a commendation for on-time performance, for example, be sure to note that in the cover letter.
3. Note any special circumstances
A cover letter is an ideal place to explain any special circumstances in your life or about the job. If your resume shows a gap in chronology, for example, you can explain why to the hiring manager in the cover letter. Something like “from 2009 to 2016, I raised a family, which taught me the value of being on time to all events…” will suffice.
Similarly, if there are any reasons you particularly want to work at the company, say why in the cover letter. Did your father and uncle work there? Most companies like to know of an existing connection like this, and will give special consideration to candidates like this.
4. Proofread, proofread, proofread
Even if you’re not a championship speller, be sure to proofread your cover letter very carefully. Human resources departments and hiring managers look at your application materials to get a sense of how careful you are. If they see mistakes in spelling or grammar, they may view you as careless.
If you need to, ask a friend to proofread for you.
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