Writing a cover letter takes a lot of skill for individuals looking for work. It serves as the first correspondence between you and a potential employer. All employers read cover letters before they read resumes. If there are errors, employers will not read the actual resume. As such, one should take their time to construct a cover letter which sells them in a purposeful manner. Here are 10 tips you should include.
1. Check grammar/spelling errors
You do not want to have a cover letter which produces grammar and spelling errors. If the employer cannot read what you are writing, they will not hire you or request an interview. Most employees will shred resumes which have syntax and grammar errors. So, it is very important that you proofread all work multiple times. Ask friends or agency to proofread it for you as well.
2. To whom it may concern:
Never write this as an introduction to your cover letter. Your cover letter with this heading will look like a generated mass one that you send to ALL potential employers. Employers want custom made cover letters which are tailored to their needs. If the posting does not specify who the hiring manager is, you should call the company to find out. If you have exhausted every resource and still cannot find the name, Dear Human Resource Generalist or Manager is fine.
This is, however, the last resort.
3. Mr. or Mrs.:
This is a common error people make on cover letters. A Sandy, Chris or even Alex may be a male or a female. If unsure of the sex of the person reading the cover letter, write Attn: (First Name Last Name). No employer will hire someone who gets their name wrong. Would you buy services from a telemarketer who does not pronounce your name right? Most likely not. Same thing here applies.
4. What you can do for me:
For every ‘I’ there is a ‘you’. If the cover letter consists of the word you and not I, it is in trouble. Many hiring managers look for what potential employees can do for them.
Do NOT: Your company is looking for an excellent customer service representative who is detail oriented and has excellent time management skills.
DO: I truly believe that my excellent customer service and time management skills will be an asset to the CSR position at ABC company.
Answer the question: Why should I be hired?
5. Copy Resume:
Do not copy your resume word for word. The cover letter compliments your resume. Do not repeat yourself and provide additional information that would make the potential employer want to read your resume. If your resume is word by word the same, you will not be hired.
Unless specified in the advertisement, never leave the ball in the employer’s court. Always specify that you will contact the employer 3 days after. This shows your potential employer that you are appreciative of their time and that you are genuinely interested in the job. Otherwise they may think that you are applying to several jobs and are desperate.
7. Keep to 1 page:
The whole cover letter should be no more than 1 page, less than 300 words and 4 to 5 paragraphs at 12 font. If you are running out of space, you can add 11.5 font to be on the safe side. Do not provide a cover letter which has a couple of lines running down on the second page.
Always specify referrals and where you found the job posting. Give credit to the individual or company who helped you find the potential employer. If it is someone who works in the company, cover letters are good to specify that. Companies will be prone to hire on referrals rather than take on strangers.
9. Power Verbs
Use power verbs that will make your application stand out. Highlight and bold your achievements. You can even indent your skills and achievements and bullet them. When out of ideas use a thesaurus online to get words which will flabbergast your potential employer.
DO NOT: I am able to answer phones and resolve client issues
DO: Efficaciously I am able to answer phones and resolve client issues to achieve win/win situations.
10. ALWAYS include a cover letter with a resume
It brings a personal touch to your application. It helps sell your resume as well. Writing a personalized business cover letter can make your employer be more enthusiastic to read the resume. Never miss an opportunity to write a cover letter because you will sell yourself short.