Every person tasked with the responsibility of recruiting has had the pleasure of sifting through near-endless stacks of resumes with one statement on their mind, “show me why you deserve this job?” It is generally not a hard question to answer in an interview setting, but many job seekers fail to grasp its importance within a cover letter. If a potential interviewee has already shown a recruiter why they deserve the job, this will lead to a drastically higher chance of receiving a call for an interview.
Cover letters are the first thing a recruiter sees. They are a way to introduce yourself to them. A well written and targeted cover letter pinpoints why you stand out from the rest of the pack. It does the footwork for the reader, helping them interpret how your qualifications relate to the employment opportunity. In a perfect world, a cover letter should stand out to say, “I know about your company’s goals and values, and here is how I will help accomplish these.”
You could have every requirement for the job, but if your qualifications are buried somewhere in your resume, you may not even make it out of the pile on the desk. Recent studies have concluded that many of yesterday’s lesser-known career paths – such as engineering - are some of today’s most sought-after and highest-paid options. In fact, engineering careers have a median annual salary of $73,000, and we can expect these numbers to increase as time moves forward. What does this mean? This means that, due to the rising competitiveness of various industries and the sheer number of applicants, a recruiter often won’t have the time or desire to dig for vital information. They don’t want to search for abilities that match their needs in a list of various jobs and experiences- hence the need for you to showcase the information they want to see using a well written cover letter. Following are some points to consider when writing your cover letter.
Ensure Your Cover Letter is Efficient
Limit your cover letter to one page if possible. Keep in mind that the people reading your cover letter and resumes spend mere seconds on them. Think about how you would view your cover-letter. Where is your immediate focus at first glance? It is important to include the most crucial, persuading information within this area.
Craft Your Cover Letter Around the Job
This is where you demonstrate your knowledge of the organization and show them why you are interested in their organization or industry. Many companies offer vast amounts of important information through their online presence. Do your research. Find data to back up your plans to better the company. Also, if contacted for an interview, it can also be worthwhile to dig through this data to find small, relatable tidbits about the person you are interviewing with in order to help the flow of the interview. Where did they go to school? Where did they grow up? Strike a conversation.
Avoid long sentences and paragraphs. Write in the active voice, that is, use action verbs. The reader should pick up on your confidence and enthusiasm through your writing style. It is vital to understand how to mix personable and professional in a way that will portray you in the best possible light for the recruiter.
Reference Your Resume
Bridge the gap between your resume and its cover letter by referencing the skills you have that will make you right for the job. Give the hiring manager a reason to open your resume up, by letting them know you will include further information on specific skills inside. However, don’t just repeat yourself on the resume with a list of skills; bring them to life in stories of your past achievements.
Avoid sounding gimmicky or unorthodox, but strive to attract interest immediately. Capitalize on the points above to create a professional, yet interesting cover letter that will leave a reader wanting more. Be sure to close the letter strongly with a request for an interview.
In summary, your resume is a record of your present and past experience. A cover letter fleshes out that experience as it applies to the specific job opportunity you are striving for. A well thought out letter summarizes your qualifications so the hiring manager doesn’t have to search through your resume looking for them. Make sure that your cover letter highlights the areas of your resume that match the job requirements. If it doesn’t, the hiring manager will likely pass you over and move on to the next one. In a tight job market with a severe skills gap issue, having an effective cover letter will make you stand out among the sea of other candidates.
Taylor Tomita is a creative writer residing in Boise, Idaho. Focusing on various angles of education and business, Taylor has been able to help many individuals overcome concerns within these fields. When not writing, you can find Taylor playing in the band Stepbrothers or hanging out with his cat at home. Follow him on Twitter!