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
In general, the salutation you use depends on the tone of voice you’ve decided to go for but also on the company culture.
However, it’s always a good idea to address your letter to the person responsible for the recruitment process. If you don’t know their name, try to find it out. And only if that proves to be impossible, choose a generic salutation.
Here are some phrases you can use (note that some of them require you to know the hiring manager's name):
- Dear Mr. John,
- Dear Ms. Petersen,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Dr. Todd,
- Dear Head of [team you're applying for]
The introduction is your chance of getting the reader’s attention and giving them a reason to see you as a good fit.
So make sure you highlight your excitement about the company or the industry (or even both!) and the reasons why you’d like to grow in the field.
Avoid using clichés like “I found your job posting on website X and decided to apply”.
Link your hard and soft skills to your achievements
Although you’ve probably listed all your skills on your resume, it’s worth mentioning them again, but by telling a personal story. Focusing on your soft skills and leaving most hard ones behind is also a good idea.
Maybe you want to mention the things that help you overcome setbacks? Or the things that help you reach your goals? It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as you link it back to the specific job requirements.
Naturally, if the job advert mentions some hard skills explicitly, you should do the same in your cover letter. This will help you pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen resumes and cover letters for certain keywords.
Show that you know the company and its problems well
Every recruiter wants to know whether you’ve decided to apply because you’re familiar with the company or because their job advert was the first thing you saw this morning.
So – show that you’ve researched the company and are aware of its strengths, weaknesses, and potential problems.
In addition, you can also share how your Big Data Engineer skills can add value to the team.
Choose the right ending
The last part of your cover letter should briefly sum up everything you’ve said so far. It should also express your gratitude for the hiring manager’s time and consideration.
The tone of the closing line depends on two things – your personal preference and the company culture. Don’t go for overly creative phrases if the company you’re applying for relies on strictly corporate language.
Traditional lines such as “Looking forward to your reply” are usually considered a safe bet. So when in doubt, stick to them.