I can’t lie and tell you that applying for your next career is fun. It can be a competitive market out there and application after application can be wearing, even for the most seasoned person. Most employers these days require a cover letter and some of us cringe when we hear those words. I’m here to tell you that cover letters are actually a wonderful tool for getting the job you want. You just have to make sure you are using this tool properly.
Read Their Instructions Carefully
Most employers will tell you what to include in your cover letter. If you don’t follow these instructions, you will not get hired. Essentially the one task they are asking for in advance needs to be completed or you have already displayed that you cannot follow directions.
This Is Your Chance
Your resume tells a prospective employer what you have accomplished and where you’ve been. It doesn’t tell them who you are, and that’s what the cover letter is for. It’s your chance for them to get a precursory look into what your personality is like, and who you are as a person. Your resume might be flawless, but employers want to see if they can work with you, your cover letter is the frosting on top of the cupcake.
It Shows Off Your Writing Skills
All those book reports you did as a kid should come in handy. Instead of summarizing a book, you are summarizing your work history, your skills, and personality all on one sheet. It’s actually quite challenging as you are both following directions while simultaneously trying to sell yourself. It’s an exercise in writing that you should really focus on.
Make It Personal
Some hiring managers will not provide a list of instructions. In this case, you want to make sure you personalize your cover letter to reflect exactly what this job offers and how you can rise to its challenges. You do not want to copy and paste from another job you’ve applied to, they are going to see right through that. This also includes doing a little research on the company. You want to tell them how you can meet their needs so it speaks to them and only them.
Make It Stand Out
What sets you apart from every other person applying for this job? I once had a friend apply to a marketing job by creating a cover letter as a label on a bottle. It was a little out of the norm, but he wanted to stand out. You don’t have to go this far, but you do want to be memorable. Just remember to be professional. You can have fun, but you want to be tasteful as well.
Don’t underestimate the power of your cover letter. In many cases, your resume might not be what gets you the job, it will be your cover letter. Take the time to carefully read the instructions, and craft it in a way that represents the best you while also making it stand out. I know it’s a tough job market out there, but a nice cover letter will take you far. Don’t give up! You’re going to find the job you want.