Finding a job is a frustrating task for most people. When you apply for a job even if you have an excellent CV, your cover letter can be the difference between getting called for an interview and being passed up. The first impression you make to an employer is through your cover letter, as many hiring managers don’t bother to look at your resume if your cover letter is not acceptable. As such it’s important to write an effective cover letter. Following are some tips on how to write an effective cover letter to go along with your resume.
Keep it short
A long letter is off-putting. Hiring managers often have to go through hundreds of letters, and if you ramble on for too long, it can work against you. Be concise. Use short sentences, simple vocabulary, short paragraphs, and keep the overall length short enough that someone can skim it through and get the gist in 15 seconds.
Spelling and grammar
Poor spelling and grammar are among the main reasons why a lot of suitable candidates miss the invitation for an interview. Make sure your letter has proper punctuation, your spelling is correct, and your grammar is on point. Take advantage of the spell-check tool in your word processor. You can also have these things checked on the Internet from various sites.
Most cover letters follow a formula and have lines such as “I hereby write to apply for the position of…” which is a cookie cutter expression. A hiring manager, having read thousands of cover letters, probably won’t find anything about you that stands out when you follow the formula to the T. Try to use expressions with more personality and capture the attention of the reader right from the first line with sentences such as “Looking for an IT guru? Here I am.” Something as simple as this will make you stand out from the crowd.
Display your abilities
You need to read the job description and prerequisites of the position very carefully before writing your letter. Pick out a few skills from the description and give examples of how you’ve used them before. You should use statistics and figures to back up your claims so that it gives the potential employer a clear picture of what you can achieve. For example, if you’re applying for a post as a soccer coach you can say “I’ve led ABC football club to 34 victories out of 41 games”.
Don’t reiterate your resume
One common mistake people make to recite their resume in their cover letter. Only add details from your resume if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for or if you want to state a very extraordinary achievement which could win you the job.
Address the letter appropriately
Address the letter directly to the recruiter. Don’t use generic addressing such as “To Whom It May Concern” as this may be taken that you don’t care. If you know the recruiter by name you can address it directly to him/her. It shows that you’ve taken the time to research the company, and that can go a long way towards getting you the job.