An excellent cover letter can generate results, while a poor one can ensure you are overlooked. It is essential that you put together a memorable cover letter. Hiring managers wade through template after template, so an honest, well-written cover letter can be the breath of fresh air that gets you called in for an interview.
The best way to show interest in a job is to show interest in the company. The best employees are people who are interested in a particular organization, not just its industry. Don't be afraid to drop a name, mention one of the company's achievements or write about how that company inspired you on your career path. Make sure that it is very clear that you are writing this letter for them. It may be tempting to copy and paste a slightly modified form letter, but a personalized cover letter is critical for getting hired.
The Internet is a powerful tool for job applicants. Spend some time researching the company that you are applying to. Browse social media accounts. Try to find common ground, both professional and personal, that will get your foot in the door. Get a feel for the organization's general tone and demeanor. If the website and social media accounts tend to have a professional, serious feel, then write the same way. If it seems like a laid-back office, keep it professional but don't be afraid to let some of your personality come through. Write as if you are writing professionally for the company you are applying to.
It is all too easy to write a cover letter that talks about how this would be your dream job, how you went to college for so many years, how you volunteered at so many places, and so on, but the reality is that job recruiters and hiring managers really want to know what they are getting when they hire you. You need to sell yourself as if you are selling a product. Let them know how hiring you will directly benefit them. Be direct and succinct. Make them feel like not hiring you would be a poor business decision.
It can be difficult to talk about your skills without sounding conceited, but professional confidence is necessary in a cover letter. If you consistently surpassed goals at your past job, make sure that your cover letter says so. Modesty has its place, but a cover letter isn't it. It may be your only chance, after all.
Far too often, potential hires forget that a cover letter is not just a longer resume. Don't forget to briefly mention who you are, your passions, hobbies and anything else relevant. Most hiring managers don't want to call in someone and then hope for the best. Paint a clear picture of who you are. If you can connect with someone who thinks you might fit in, you have succeeded. This also helps you to weed out potentially poor matches for you too.
Mention company specifics, why they can't afford not to hire you and your personal goals and interests. Make your cover letter simple, honest and free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
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