Cover Letters- My Tips
Writing a cover letter is not always the most enjoyable aspect in a job search when applying for jobs. In fact it is a determining factor, in whether or not, your resume will be reviewed. In all my experience as a job seeker, as a recruiter and my background within HR, here are my tips and these are for more senior positions and experienced professionals with more than six years of experience:
1) There are a few types of cover letters- application letter (targeting a job in a job advertisement), referral cover letter (name of person who referred you for job), letter of interest/prospecting letter (inquiring about possible openings at a company), and networking letters (asking for job search advice and assistance). Using a generic template will not always work, and depending on how you found out about the job or your strategy, using a specific type of letter will work better.
2) Be concise. Obviously state the details you need related to the job posting, but also leave some for the interview. Grab the attention of the hiring manager with what is needed and state very clearly how you meet the requirements for the job posting.
3) Leave out, “I am applying for….” They know why you are sending in the cover letter, no need to write it in the cover letter. Introduce yourself along the lines of, “As an SME within the area of _________ I have seven years of experience with the following areas (list them out)”……….” or “As an HR Professional, I specialize in Leadership, Communication and Administrative Management. I have worked within the HR Industry for the past six years.” There is a way to brag about yourself and sound professional at the same time, the trick is do it properly
4) Avoid the use of “I” all throughout the letter. It’s not just about you, it is about the employer; you are asking them to invest in you for a position. What is their return going to be? The return on investment is not just your salary or your benefits, but an increase in productivity for your department, or enhanced communication skills within your team; revamping processes to be more effective- the list could go on. Why should the employer hire you?
5) Be professional with your format and the header/footer your use on your resume should be the same as your cover letter. Business letter format should be used, with one-inch margins on all sides.
6) The tone of your cover letter should not read like you are face to face talking with them. This was the area I had to work on consistently due to my writing of poetry I had a tendency to overlap styles. Read your cover letter out loud, have someone read it to you and also ask for feedback from a mentor. Polish it so when it is read on the receiving end, the tone is that polished, professional and amazing.
7) Lastly, your cover letter is your sales pitch, what personal/unique qualities about you, allow you to be the best candidate for the job? It’s one thing to repeat what you have on your resume in your cover letter but, your personality is what determines how you will fit in with the company, how well you will perform in the job and the value you add- sell your personal brand, not just your resume.