12 Secrets to Writing a Powerful Cover Letter

Your cover letter is where you give the hiring manager a glimpse of who you are. It should complement your resume and make the hiring manager want to learn more about you, which is how you land an interview. But when it all comes down to writing your cover letter, it can be very tough to figure out where to begin.

Here are some tips to help you write a powerful cover letter.

1.   Keep It Short

Less is always more. Keeping your cover letter to a half or full page is ideal. You don’t want to write too much. The goal is to give the hiring manager just a glimpse at who you are.

2.   Address No One

If you don’t know the hiring manager, don’t address the cover letter “to whom it may concern” or “dear hiring manager.” It’s very cliché and not personal. Instead, you can do your research to find out who is hiring for the position by calling the company or by searching online, so you can address it to that person(s). Or you can ditch the traditional format of a cover letter and simply create a title that summarizes the content in your letter.

3.   Don’t Reiterate Your Resume

Your resume and your cover letter are going to the same person and are likely going to be read side by side. Don’t recap what is already on your resume. If you just regurgitate your resume on your cover letter, it’s a waste of time and paper. If the hiring manager has questions about what’s on your resume, they will ask in the interview.

4.   What Can You Do for The Company

While your focus may be on you, the hiring manager isn’t focused on what they can do for you.  They’re not looking to learn more about what this opportunity can do for you. They want to know what you can do for them and you can support this by detailing what you have achieved for other companies in your experience.

5.   Showcase, Not Tell

If you have skills that can be supported with a story, use that story instead of listing out the skills or experiences you have. Stories make a cover letter more enjoyable to read and they can even portray your personality. It’s also way more convincing to have a story to support the skills you say you have rather than just list them on your resume.

6.   Don’t Apologize

A pet peeve that a lot of hiring managers experience is when they receive a cover letter that apologizes for skills or experience the applicant doesn’t have. This shows lack of confidence in what you do have as a professional. Instead, either explain what you do to make up for your lack of skills or experience or focus on the other important skills and experience that you do have.

7.   Use Some Numbers

Just like you would add numbers to your resume, consider adding a couple to your cover letter. Especially if you have achievements to detail; adding numbers to quantify your accomplishments will illustrate the true impact you have had in your career. Learn  how by clicking this link: Adding Numbers to Your Resume

8.   Cut the Act

You wouldn’t speak in an overly formal tone, so why write your cover letter using that tone? “I wish to convey my interest in filling the open position at your fine establishment.” Who talks like that in person? Write using your real voice, so you convey YOUR personality, not someone trying too hard.

9.   Cut the Fluff

Avoid using the phrases “team player” or “people person.” They are very cliché when used by themselves. Consider using more detailed phrasing to show off your skills. For example, “I am a strong communicator with experience building relationships between different departments to develop a more cohesive program.” It will showcase more about you.

10. Give Yourself a Confidence Boost

Before writing your cover letter, try boosting your confidence. It will drastically change the way you write about yourself and your confidence will show. You can do this by reading recommendation letters or write a list of all of the things you’ve accomplished and you’re proud of. You can also imagine you’re writing to a person who already believes you’re valuable the best person for the job.

11. Proofread

Sending a cover letter with grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes is a rookie move and will likely land your application in the trash. It’s that attention to detail that is a standard skill that hiring managers expect all employees to have. Always proofread! Then, proofread again and again and again. Read it out loud too. You should also give it to a friend to read.

12.     Have Fun!

Last, but certainly not least, HAVE FUN with it! This is where you showcase your personality. Especially, if you’re naturally funny, add a hint of appropriate humor. If you’re not naturally funny, don’t try to be what you’re not. Simply, enjoy what you write and the hiring manager will enjoy reading it.

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