The most important thing to remember about a cover letter is to include one. Many hiring managers have indicated with surprise how many applications they recieve where the applicant doesn’t even bother including a cover letter. Not only is it additional real estate made available for you to talk about your accomplishments and ambitions, not having one shows you don’t really care about the company you’re applying to.
Here are some tips on writing an attention-grabbing cover letter that helps you stand out from the rest of the stack.
Begin with a Hook
Recruiters and hiring managers go through stacks of resumes and cover letters in their search for candidates with the “right fit”. To ensure you stand out, begin your cover letter with something that will grab the reader’s attention. Do you have a personal story that makes the company or industry special to you? Perhaps something you’ve worked on in the past relates to something the company is focused on right now. Whatever it is, don’t just start with your name and current position since you already wrote it in your resume or profile.
Avoid Generic and Vague Phrases
Cookie cutter phrases may show companies that you are not putting in the time to research how they stand out from competitors or that you don’t stand out from other candidates. It’s best to go in more detail rather than saying something like “I think your company does great work and I could be a huge help.”
Use an Appropriate Tone
Depending on whether you’re applying for a very conservative industry role or a laid back startup, the voice you use in your cover letter should match that of the company. You can look into what tone the company has through their website text copy, white papers, and even videos of their executive team talks.
Highlight New Information
A cover letter should not just repeat the same information you included in your resume. It’s an additional opportunity to show your stuff so make sure you either elaborate or extend messages you’d like to convey to the hiring manager. If there’s nothing new to read about in your cover letter, you expose yourself as lacking in substance and the recruiter will not feel engaged with your application!