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In today’s job market, having a professional introduction is everything. Think about it for a moment. People spend a great deal of time developing social media profiles, producing intro videos, and creating online portfolios of their work – all in the hopes of getting noticed by the right hiring company.
In terms of a resume, a cover letter is akin to delivering an elevator speech to a new prospect or introducing yourself to a new network. Therefore, while you may give your resume much thought, a well-written cover letter is worth it’s weight in gold.
Writing the Perfect Cover Letter
A cover letter is something that sets the amateur job seeker apart from a professional. This one-page document can be a powerful “sales pitch” that compels a recruiter to bring you in for a personal interview. Unfortunately, too many folks get caught up in worrying that their cover letter won’t be good enough to get the job done. That’s why you need our expert advice on how to write the best cover letter.
Include the following five elements and your cover letter will shine!
Cover Letter Format
When writing a cover letter, use an actual format that is closely matched to the style and font used on your resume. This gives you a more branded look to hiring managers, something that subtly says, “I am serious about wanting to work for your company.” Many resumes also have matching cover letter templates you can download together or you can modify a standard cover letter format with the corresponding header, font, and layout.
Powerful Professional Opener
If you were in front of a recruiter at your dream job, what one sentence would best describe your value to the company? This is what you need to keep in mind as you write your opening sentence in your cover letter. Relate it to the actual job title you are applying for. For example, you may say something like:
“Hello and thank you for taking the time to review my above-average technical skills in consideration of the Project Manager assignment. I am eager to explain how my education, background and experience are a good match for [Company Name]’s objectives.”
What Belongs in a Cover Letter?
Writing a solid cover letter doesn’t mean you need to include everything except the kitchen sink. Consider that while you want to include your overall value statement to the hiring manager, you also want to pique their interest so that they will invite you for a personal interview. Do this by including a short bulleted list of your top skills or achievements (as they are presented on your resume.
An example could be:
- Strong project management skills with a record of 97% successful completion on deadline
- Proven ability to reduce project costs through careful organization of resources
- Award-winning project in the IT market earning previous employer industry recognition
Length of the Cover Letter
Another area that many people struggle in is deciding on the length of the cover letter itself. To determine this, consider how much time you want the hiring manager to read your cover letter or if you want them to jump over to your resume to learn more? Make it short, sweet, and to the point because they are likely very busy.
A Strong Call to Action
Want to get the recruiter to stop in their tracks and actually call you? Then use a trick that marketing pros do to get prospects to take action – write a strong call to action statement. Essentially, ask the reader to give you a call for an interview. You can do this by simply saying something like:
“Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing back from you this week. I can be reached by phone Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm, at the following phone number (123) 456-7890.”
If you write your cover letter including these elements, you will increase your chance of getting asked to come in for an interview. This will help to impress even the toughest hiring managers and fast track you to a new job.