Are Cover Letters Important?
Your heads are probably exploding with resumes and keywords, so let’s take a break from resumes and move onto crafting a fabulous cover letter. Cover letters are really important because some hiring managers don’t even look at a resume and only look at cover letters. That’s because the cover letter should really give them a great introduction and background to who you are. It should capture the most important items from your resume. So don’t set your cover letter aside like it’s not important.
So let’s back up a bit and start at the beginning. What is the purpose of the cover letter? Cover letters explain the reason for your interest in a job and they identify your most relevant skills or experiences. So just like before we started your resume, we have some pre-work to start with before you start writing your cover letter now.
We need to know a few things first such as the name of the company you are applying to, the name of the person you are addressing the cover letter to (if you have it, if you don’t it’s ok to put Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Recruiting Manager or Dear (company name) team, and as the last resort you can put “To Whom it may concern”), the other items you want to have handy in preparation for cover letter writing are what skills you possess but are not using in your current role. And of course, you want to have your current position responsibilities handy and all those accomplishments and results ready to add. This is also where you want to start brainstorming, if you haven’t already, what benefits you can offer the company and how you can help the company if you are given the job you desire.

And here are 10 more secrets to great cover letters:

1. Send a customized cover letter for each job you apply to.
2. Add the same keywords from the job descriptions. Less is more. You don’t want your cover letter too long.
3. Your letter should complement, not duplicate, the resume. You don’t need to include everything from your resume on your cover letter. They can read that in the resume. So your cover letter should be a quick overview.
4. PDF it. If you send it in word sometimes it won’t look as professional.
5. Make sure you have a confident closing paragraph. You want to close with major confidence and passion. Saying something like “I believe you will find I am well qualified.” “I look forward to speaking with you and helping your company.” Stay away from “Thank you for considering me. If you think I would be a good fit, please call me.”
[RELATED: How To Create a Networking Plan]
6. Show that you have done your research in the cover letter. Know what the company is all about.
7. Compliment their company. Say, “I want to work for your company because…” People LOVE being complimented, trust me.
8. Show your passion and don’t be boring. Remember to brag about yourself and share how awesome you are. Now is not the time to be humble ladies!
9. Last but not least, try to remember to keep your cover letter conversational. Read it out loud and pretend you are talking to them when you read it.
10. Be bold.
In the final paragraph, you are going to reiterate in one sentence why you feel you are a perfect fit for this position. Discuss here what you will do next. Will you be following up or are you looking forward to interviewing and meeting them personally and learning more about the company? And of course here is where you want to thank them for their time and let them know how you can be reached. Be confident as you write this closing paragraph and expect to be meeting them for that interview. That is how the confidence will shine through.
As far as structure of the cover letter goes, the first paragraph is where you will mention the job you are applying to, how you found the job listing and why you are applying. This should just be 1-3 sentences.
Then, most cover letters will have only 1-2 body paragraphs. In the body of your cover letter, you want to try to answer the questions, why am I qualified for this position? What work experience do I have that fits the requirements? Why do I want to work for this company?

Alright you are all set and ready to create a rockin’ cover letter!

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