Cover letters are your first chance to show your personality. Your resume might list your experience and qualifications, but these days that’s not enough. People want to know who you are before they call you in for an interview. In this article, we’ll discuss the dos and don’ts of writing a captivating cover letter.
Research the Company
One of the primary functions of a cover letter is to separate candidates who truly want to work at a place from those who are just mindlessly clicking apply on Indeed. It shows initiative, and it gives you a head start on the research you have to do if you get called in for an interview.
Look, nobody expects you to know every company and its history of performance. But when you apply to work for a place, doing a little research about a company so you can honestly answer why you think you’d be a good fit shows initiative.
Read the job description and the company website. Businesses tend to have certain words or phrases that are used repeatedly—on their website, from upper management’s lips at every meeting, and in the job description. It’s part of their mission statement and it’s one way to establish a company culture.
Searching for these keywords during your research gives you something to focus on, instead of just blindly reading and trying to absorb the company’s entire history. Once you’ve identified them, use them in your cover letter.
Work them in naturally—don’t just wedge them in anywhere. And be selective. Too many keywords will seem obvious and disingenuous.
What You Can Do for the Company
Don’t focus on how this job will help your career. Focus on how you can help the company. Cite relevant experience as evidence you can do the job they’ve described. Mention any major projects you may have completed. Those will say a lot more than just listing your skills.
Some applicants think the cover letter is their chance to show what a fan of the company they are. Employers want proven professionals, not fans. So keep the flattery to a minimum.
Don’t Just List Accomplishments
Your degree is nice. It shows you could stick with something and finish it. That’s about the only reason some employers still cling to them as requirements. It’s much more useful to explain what you learned and any hands-on, real-world projects you may have completed in school.
Same with your current or former job titles. People who focus on titles tend to not have done much while wearing that title. Again, focus on projects you completed under that title.
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Another thing you can do is team up with a recruiter to maximize your job search. SVS Staffing has top recruiters who will help you polish your resume, customize your cover letter, and land the perfect job. Contact us today!