The cover letter is an incredibly helpful tool when applying to jobs because it provides recruiters with a more well-rounded sense of your skillset and who you are. However, if you are going to include a cover letter in your application, be sure to do it right. There is nothing worse than your application getting tossed in the “no” pile because of a silly typo or another easily avoidable mistake. To help you start off on the right foot, we have put together some tips on how to craft a cover letter that will impress hiring managers and make you stand out from the stack of applicants.
Tell Them Who You Are
While your resume certainly won’t look exactly the same as other applicants, there is only so much room for variation. After reading ten, fifty, or even a hundred resumes, they will start to blur together to a recruiter. Your cover letter, on the other hand, is the perfect place to show off who you really are. Ashley, a hiring expert from Cardinal Health, says, “Use it as an opportunity to elaborate on your experiences and strengths that weren't highlighted as thoroughly in your resume.”1 This is the perfect place to convey what you are passionate about, especially if you have passions that align within the field or industry you are trying to work in. This could be extracurricular activities you were involved in or a nonprofit where you currently volunteer. Whatever it may be, always tie it back to the position or company you are applying for. Your cover letter can also be a great place to discuss gaps in your resume or anything that might raise a question to employers.
Make it Personal
It would definitely be easier to have one form letter that you send off to each and every company you apply to, but that won’t pique any employer’s interest. Instead, create an outline, but change it for every company that you send it to. Allegra, a hiring expert from Cigna, says “A cover letter provides you with the perfect opportunity to stand out from other candidates and distinguish yourself as the top choice. Focus on the value you bring to the role and the company, and most importantly, make sure that your cover letters are personalized for every company.”2 You want the cover letter to focus on why you are qualified for the job you are applying for, and that will naturally be different for each job.
Edit, Edit, Edit
If you do decide to include a cover letter or the company specifically requests one, it is imperative that it is absolutely error-free. Nothing will get your resume thrown out faster than a cover letter addressed to the wrong company or with an obvious typo. Sara, a hiring expert from Grace, warns, “I find that people make many errors on their cover letters such as forgetting to tailor it to the new company and position. In that case, the one item you worked so hard on becomes a liability.”3 A cover letter has the potential to make you stand out from the pile; don’t waste this opportunity over something as silly as a typo.
While a cover letter may seem like an afterthought to your resume, it can actually make the difference between getting an interview or not. Mastering the art of the cover letter is a great way to stand out from the stack of applicants and start getting responses!