Having a great cover letter is your first step in getting hired. It is the initial evaluation of your skills, your resume, and you as a worker and as a person.
Creating a great cover letter is easy if you know what you should focus on. Here are some things to remember when writing a cover letter.
Break it Down:
Your cover letter should have three main thoughts. The first is to introduce yourself, and the position you are applying for. The second should be about your skills and how they can be applied to the company you are applying to, and the third point should be a closing statement on your desire for an interview, etc.
In the first section, make sure it's clear right away what position you are applying for. Make sure that, along with the position, you list where you saw it advertised and include any reference numbers for the position. An example of this could be: "Please accept my resume as application for the position of Bilingual Customer Service Representative (Job Reference # xyz123) which was advertised in Customer Service Weekly."
In the second section, focus on your skills and experience. Make sure you highlight the skills you have as they refer to the job advertisement. You don't need to include all your skills and experience, because you will be mentioning those in your resume. You don't want to overload the reader with non-essential information. Keep this section concise and crisp.
Tell the reader what you can bring to the company. Discuss your experience as it relates to the job advertisement. Make sure you remember to place emphasis on your skills that illustrate that this job is for you. But remember to keep it focussed and not too long.
The final section of your cover letter deals with how they can contact you. Make sure you list the various methods of contacting you and that all your contact information is accurate.
Keep it Simple:
Your cover letter should not include long paragraphs and complicated sentence structure. The human resources person reading your cover letter may just briefly scan it, looking for key points of interest to see if you are qualified for the job, before they read your resume. If your important points are buried in long sentences, they will likely be overlooked. If you have a skill that's crucial to the job you are applying for, consider putting it in its own sentence so that it's easily seen by the reader.
The formatting should also be simple and easy to read. Remember, you are applying for a job and sending a business letter, so keep it professional looking by using a plain font on white, crisp paper.
Keep it Short:
If your information is well written and concise, it will be easier to read. And that's the first step in getting hired. Keep your sentences focussed and your writing clear. The maximum length of your cover letter should be one page - not a tightly-packed one page, but an easy to read with lots of white space, one page.
Read it Over:
Is it friendly and clear? Will the reader be able to easily identify you as a great candidate? Have you included your key skills as they are identified in the job advertisement? Is it free of spelling mistakes? Have you taken the time to research who you should send the cover letter to and have you addressed it specifically to them? If you take care of these details, you will increase your chances of having your cover letter read. Remember as well, to tailor each cover letter to each job you apply to.
Having a great cover letter will help you in your job search. It's the first thing a potential employer will see so make sure it's a great reflection of you and your skills.