Have you actually read any of your cover letters? Out loud, even? It can be difficult to assess your own writing, but what did you think? Would you want to call yourself and schedule an interview?
Or did it put you to sleep?
With the prevalence of email and online job boards as part of most job searches, the “art” of the cover letter may very well be lost. But it should still be a major component of your job search. Effective cover letters:
- Complement a strong resume
- Help you stand out to potential employers
- Add a “human” element to your job application
Despite the benefits of creative, effective cover letters, they are oft forgotten. Take advantage of other job seekers’ mistakes and increase your odds of landing the job by following these three tips, designed to make your cover letters sizzle:
1. Sound like a person. Yes, despite what you may have been taught, your cover letter shouldn’t be a stuffy introduction. Instead, cover letters are a way to demonstrate your writing skills (a must-have in just about every industry and position in today’s workplace), show some personality, and stand out from hundreds of other candidates who are just as qualified as you are (or even more so). Taking a somewhat conversational tone can help you build rapport with someone you have never met. Sounding familiar, yet still professional, can help you keep your resume at the top of the pack – and out of the recycle bin.
2. Use names. Avoid “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” at all costs! Starting off a cover letter with these greetings is a surefire way to end up in the garbage can. With online professional networks like LinkedIn, and often comprehensive company websites, there is no excuse not to identify the person in charge of hiring. Direct your letter to this person, specifically, or following the other tips will be pointless. Would you want to read a letter addressed, “To Whom it May Concern?”
3. Don’t regurgitate your resume. Companies today are looking for creative professionals – whether you’re an accountant or a receptionist. You may not be in a creative trade, but showing some creativity is a necessity to stand out in this job marketplace. And while your resume offers some room for creativity, it’s the cover letter that will get you noticed, and help you land your next job. Regurgitating your resume shows a lack of creativity and initiative. The cover letter should illuminate and complement your resume, and provide additional insight into who you are, and what makes you a great hire. On your resume, you get to highlight all your accomplishments. In your cover letter, you need to brag about them!
Looking for a job?
Here at Masiello Employment Services, we work with employers in Springfield and Northampton, Massachusetts, as well as employers in Vermont and New Hampshire. We’ll help you find job to meet your career goals!