A cover letter doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, if your cover letter is boring, it most likely will find one of three fates: scanned only, tossed in the trash, or not reviewed at all. So, what gets a cover letter noticed? And, how do you find the perfect balance of being professional—yet interesting—with this important document? Read on for five tips that can help you in creating your next cover letter.
Tip 1. Be concise
A long cover letter will appear overwhelming to the reader. When someone sees large blocks of text, they typically shut-down and decide not to read any part of it. Instead, you need to be focused and pointed with your text. Decide what is important and ONLY include that information. This will allow you to appear professional and show that you understand the reader’s time is valuable.
Tip 2. Use bullets
Yes, use bullets in the middle of the cover letter. After you have discussed the name of the position and why you are a good candidate, it’s important to showcase achievements that align with this job opportunity. Highlight three or four of your accomplishments that directly relate to what you would be doing in the future position. By utilizing bullets, you directly draw the attention of the reader. Use quantitative information whenever possible. For example, consider how the following highlights your strengths: “Boosted sales by 33% within a 3-month period, bringing in an additional $30M in revenue.”
Tip 3. Use the “you” attitude
A professional and interesting cover letter showcases YOU rather than I. For example, rather than saying, “I am interested in the job,” say something like, “Your recent job opportunity…” or “Your recent posting.” It’s all about the potential employer and you need to ensure the cover letter focuses on that.
Tip 4. Highlight something about the company
SHOW that you have conducted your research and aren’t just applying to hundreds of job opportunities. Mention a recent award they received or discuss their top client—whatever it is, demonstrate that you have done your homework. Not only is this interesting to the reader, it is professional and forward-thinking.
Tip 5. End on a positive note
Rather than saying you “hope” to hear from the employer, say something like the following: “I look forward to your positive response.” Or, you could say, “I know I’m the right candidate for the position and I am excited to schedule an interview.” This may seem forward to some people; however, it does show that you have confidence in your abilities and KNOW that you are the person for the job. This is not the time to be wishy-washy. Show your strengths and own your expertise.
Remember that hiring managers and recruiters are busy. The important thing when writing a cover letter is to be targeted, clear, and concise. If you are still confused about how to create an appealing cover letter, check out our cover letter checklist.
Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, has been working with job seekers since 2008 to develop forward-thinking, eye-catching, and dynamic resumes for today’s marketplace. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and has written thousands of resume for clients in a variety of fields. Dr. Rothbauer-Wanish has a BBA in Management, an MBA, and a PhD in Organization and Management