Writing a cover letter can be quite the challenge, whether you are applying for an internship, volunteer position or an actual job. But they are definitely not impossible to perfect. It’s important that when writing a cover letter, you follow all the right guidelines to make a strong, positive impression. Here are 8 MUST-FOLLOW tips that will not only make your life easier the next time you’re writing a cover letter, but also hopefully make yours stand out among the rest!
1. Do your research.
Make sure you research the organization or company you are applying to thoroughly. Being aware of their mission, values and goals can be very useful when you explain why you’re the best fit for a position at their particular company. Make sure you carefully read the qualifications and requirements written on the job description also, since it is equally as important to be aware of what type of individual they are seeking. By learning new information about the company or organization, you are already one step ahead of the rest!
2. Emphasize the right experience.
Your resume might list experiences that are not completely applicable to the position you are applying for. For this reason, it is vital that you choose only one or two experiences which you can further elaborate on in the cover letter. Ensure that you select experiences that directly correlate with the qualifications mentioned on the job description. This will make you appear a better candidate that can fulfill what the employer ultimately needs and is looking for in a potential employee.
3. Make sure your personality is portrayed.
If you are writing a cover letter from a template or popular example found on the web, you will notice that they are quite generic. It’s essential that when writing a cover letter, you are being unique and providing a sense of who you truly are. Personalizing the cover letter as much as possible will help your individuality shine and be conveyed accurately. Think about it – the employer is reading tons of these cover letters, so if you can make yours stand out with a little shine of personality – you’ve got one up on the others.
4. Do NOT repeat your resume.
Don’t make the common mistake of regurgitating your resume throughout your cover letter. Your resume is simply an overview of your experiences and skills, which don’t need to be entirely repeated in the cover letter. You should take this opportunity to mention a few things you didn’t list in your resume, so you can continue to provoke interest in the employer. If your resume and cover letter appear identical, you haven’t taken complete advantage of the power your cover letter has.
5. Highlight the essential skills.
Usually job descriptions list or mention certain skills they are looking for in potential candidates. Do not ignore this section! If the employer is looking particularly for leadership skills, indicate it both on your resume and cover letter. You can provide further examples of it in your cover letter.
6. Use keywords.
Your choice of words can make the biggest difference between writing a cover letter that is great and writing a cover letter that just gets thrown in with the rest. It’s recommended to use action words such as “planned, designed, taught, built, and created.” Certain keywords that pertain to the position you’re applying for are more likely to be recognized.
7. Don’t be vague.
When mentioning skills, relevant experiences, or achievements, don’t be vague about it. Your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to go in depth about what you have learned from these experiences and how they are useful for the desired position. The employer wants to know more than just the fact that you possess these traits, they want to know how it will benefit their team and overall organization. When writing a cover letter, though, put a limit on the extent of detail you provide – you don’t want to create a novel.
Make sure you give your cover letter a few reads before you actually submit it. Checking for any grammatical and spelling errors is an important element in the overall cover letter writing process. Revise the overall formatting of the cover letter, while double-checking the names and addresses. If you have extra time, showing your cover letter to a friend or family member for even more editing won’t hurt!
Writing a cover letter doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Just implementing these 8 pieces of advice and go and get that job! Good luck!
Featured image source: picturemic.com
Gurneet is currently a York University Student studying Global Health. She is very passionate about science and she hopes to pursue a career within health care. Aside from academics, she is very passionate about writing and spends her free time writing poetry and short stories.