Posted in Career Best Practices
A well-crafted cover letter is an invaluable job search tool. It allows you to:
- personally introduce and frame your resume;
- capture a recruiter's attention by emphasizing your relevant strengths and assets;
- make a case for why you're the ideal candidate;
- solicit an interview.
Here's what yours should include:
- Insights about your candidacy your resume does not provide. A cover letter should not rehash your resume; it should include supplemental information that frames your experience, skill set (both hard and soft) and other assets to distinguish you as a viable candidate worthy of an interview.
- A great lead sentence. Open with statement that gets a recruiter's attention. Options include:
- Highlighting one of your key accomplishments (relevant to the available position).
- Posing a thought-provoking question.
- Including a hard-hitting quote about you from a former employer.
- Customization. Address your cover letter to the appropriate individual (if a contact is not listed in the posting, research the company online or call them to find out who reviews resumes). Highlight the aspects of your resume that key into the needs of the position, incorporating language from the job posting.
- Evidence that you've done your homework. Show the employer that you've researched their company, by mentioning a current issue related to their industry or operations. Just make sure you choose a topic that you can tie back to the position you're seeking.
- An explanation of potential concerns. Have a gap in employment? Changed jobs multiple times over the past several years? Your cover letter is the perfect place to proactively address them, so that a recruiter doesn't automatically remove you from consideration.
- A specific request for action. For many job seekers, the closing paragraph is an afterthought. Don't miss out on this final opportunity to leave a great final impression! Demonstrate confidence in your candidacy by directly, yet respectfully, asking for an interview. Include the date and time you will follow up, allowing at least three business days from the date you send your resume and cover letter.
Looking for a job?
PrideStaff can get you to work quickly. When you apply with us, we can help you polish your resume, perfect your cover letter, brush up on your interviewing skills, and, most importantly, find the ideal assignment or direct opportunity.