Imagine if an employer gave you the chance to write a personal essay on why their company is perfect for you, and why you are perfect for their company. You’d be free to describe just how much working there would mean to you, be able to express yourself and your strong suits articulately, and best of all, directly address the person in charge of hiring.
Well, guess what? That opportunity exists – and it’s called a cover letter.
Though you may not be able to be as uninhibited as you might wish, a cover letter is an essay of sorts that can differentiate your application from the next, and add a refreshing, personal touch to your application materials.
Whereas your resume is a factual, referential document that summarizes professional details including your work history, qualifications, and experience, your cover letter allows you to speak in a more expressive manner on your background, skills, and highlights of your career and education (the latter, particularly applicable if you are a recent grad). The objective when writing a cover letter should be to support the assertions of your resume, expand on your best professional attributes, and interest the hiring manager enough so that you get a call for an interview. To do this, make sure that you write about how your qualities and qualifications will allow you to push the business forward and benefit their overall goals.
If you want to write a cover letter that describes you to a T, cover these bases:
- Clarify what position you’re applying for
- Describe why their specific company appeals to you
- Touch upon your skills, experience, and competencies in order to show what you offer
- Refer to a story that illustrates your abilities to show them, not just tell them
- Describe why your fit is just right for the position
- Thank them for their time and consideration
Above all else, aim to customize and personalize the letter for your audience, and write it with the position you’re applying for in mind. Make sure to showcase the skills that are the most relevant for the job, as well as your credentials that best support your claim that you are the right person. Finally, don’t forget to have a fresh pair of eyes look over your letter to make sure it accomplishes this.