A cover letter can be a powerful tool, but a lot of people feel overwhelmed by the task. Some people send out the same letter every time or avoid applying for jobs where one is required. Instead of falling into these traps, follow these tips to use your cover letter as an opportunity to sell yourself and get a job interview.
Address Any Concerns
If you have anything on your resume that might cause concerns, such as a gap in your work experience, the cover letter is a good time to briefly explain. For example, you can describe why you weren’t working and any skills you learned or things you did to stay relevant and up-to-date while you were not at work.
Similarly, a cover letter can help explain your position if you’re switching careers or applying to a job that is different from what you’ve done before.
A cover letter is the place you can stand out, so don’t use cliche phrases that make you blend in.
One common thing to avoid? “My name is (name), and I’m applying for (position).” The recruiter already knows this, and too many people use this as an introduction. Instead, put a strong statement about why you’re interested in the company, what appealed to you about the position, or a statement about why you’re the person for the job.
Other things to avoid are cliche words and phrases like, “I’m a fast learner,” “I think out of the box,” “I work well independently and in a team” and “I’m the best candidate for the job.” Instead, frame things in a unique way and use your experience to get the point across without using tired language.
Don’t Repeat Your Resume
Your cover letter shouldn’t be your resume in paragraph form. Your resume’s job is to briefly describe your job experience. Your cover letter’s job is to showcase your personality, skills, and interest in the field.
Use your cover letter to mention any qualities or skills that wouldn’t be on your resume, and explain why you are a good fit for the job.
Use the Job Description
A job description is a helpful tool for you to learn what the hiring team wants in a candidate. For example, if the job description talks about looking for someone with leadership qualities, talk about jobs or experiences where you’ve managed a team. If the job description wants you to have a certain skill, explain how you’ve used that skill in your professional or even personal life.
Using the job description lets you tailor your cover letter in a way that will help hiring managers feel motivated to offer you an interview.
By taking the time to craft a better cover letter, you’ll increase your chances of finding a job. Try these techniques next time you need a cover letter for an application.