What Your Cover Letter Should Say About You
If the resume is a snapshot of your professional achievements, the cover letter should offer a peek into your personality. Many job-seekers make the mistake of submitting bland, standard cover letters for openings they are targeting.
Hiring managers and recruiters want to see a little personalization in your cover letter, so let them have it. This means including specific stories or examples of how you have proven your mettle in the workplace.
First or Third Person?
One of the biggest differences between the cover letter and the resume is how you address yourself. Always use a first-person, conversational tone in your cover letter. Your resume is a more basic, straightforward representation of you, while your cover letter is supposed to show a softer side of you.
While first person is preferred, avoid using “I” too many times. Starting every sentence with “I” will leave your letter very ego-focused, which can be a red flag to hiring managers. Use “we” or “our” often in your letter to convey your team spirit.
Custom, Custom, Custom
Many companies will receive hundreds of resumes and cover letters for a single position. How do you make sure your documents stand out?
When it comes to the cover letter, its important to take a lighter and more anecdote-driven approach. Does your prospective company require project management experience for its vacant position? Use a paragraph or bullet point to describe how you have planned and led critical initiatives in past or current positions.
Know Your Target
Cover letters, much like the resume, are keyword driven. This requires you to do some research on your target company before sending in your cover letter.
Try to match as many keywords as possible in your cover letter with the job announcement. This will help your letter perform better in keyword searches conducted by job recruitment software that many companies use today.
Once your letter makes it to an actual human reviewer, it must tell your story in a quick, engaging way. Mention where you heard about the vacancy and why it attracted you. Include your thoughts on a recent company initiative or accomplishment. This will show your hiring manager your dedication to becoming a valuable, committed employee.