There are several things you need to do if you want to make your cover letter stand out.
First and foremost, make sure to stick to a tone of voice that is either formal and more on the traditional side or completely matches the company culture.
Second, make sure you’re not just re-writing your resume. Rather, build upon it.
And third, focus on achievements and motivations, rather than plainly listing your hard skills.
Now, if you want to stay on top of your cover letter game, we’ve got some additional tips for you.
Choose the right salutation and craft an introduction that gets you remembered
Addressing your cover letter to a specific person works in your favor for two reasons: it shows your attention to detail, and it proves that you’ve taken the time to research who the person might be.
However, sometimes this might be much more difficult than expected. On such occasions, we advise you to focus on salutations that go beyond the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern”.
Here’s a brief list of suitable phrases:
- Dear Mr. John,
- Dear Ms. Petersen,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Dr. Todd,
- Dear Head of [team you're applying for]
A noteworthy introduction is what will grab the reader by the collar and make them want to get to know you better.
But what’s the best way to begin your cover letter? Highlighting your excitement about the position!
Be honest and original – this will get you remembered. You can even link your excitement to the reasons why you’d like to grow in this exact field.
Link your hard and soft skills to your achievements
So what skills do you need to include? Well, unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this. It all depends on the job description and the skills you’ve currently got.
According to experts, what recruiters look for in cover letters is how you can link your soft skills to particular achievements and goals. So, try to figure out what has helped you on the way to success.
However, don’t forget about hard skills. Even if they’re not the focus of your happy story, you need to include at least the ones that were mentioned as part of the requirements section of the job posting. This will help you pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen applicant documents for certain keywords and phrases.
Prove that you're familiar with the company
Showing that you’ve researched the company and are familiar with it is a good way to prove your work-readiness.
It will also point the recruiter to the fact that your skills and qualifications will have a long-term impact on the company. Just link some of your strengths to the ways in which current or potential issues can be resolved.
Choose the right ending
While a strong introduction makes a great first impression, a confident, yet considerate conclusion is essentially what will get you a callback.
There are different ways to end your cover letter. But remember – the closing line you choose should match the company culture.
Your safest bet would be going for traditional phrases like “Looking forward to hearing from you” or “Looking forward to your reply”. For bonus points, add a simple “Thank you for your time and consideration”.