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
Choosing the right salutation might be tough – we get it. After all, you don’t want to sound way too formal or too friendly.
There are some things that should definitely be taken into consideration when it comes to addressing your cover letter. First and foremost comes the recruiter’s name.
Even if you don’t know who the person reading your cover letter might be, try to find out. Check company websites or social media profiles or even media articles.
If this doesn’t help, you can go for traditional gender-neutral salutations that don’t require knowing the hiring manager’s name.
Here are some of our favorites:
- Dear [company name] Recruiter
- Dear Mr./Ms. Smith
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To the [team you're applying for] Team
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”.
Focus on your soft skills but don't forget about the hard skills too
Although you’ve probably listed (or are planning to list) your hard skills on your resume, don’t forget to mention them in your cover letter as well. One way to do that is by telling a personal story.
You can share how some of your skills or qualities have helped you achieve goals in the past. Or perhaps you want to talk about the things that help you get over challenges. You decide.
Naturally, both soft and hard skills should be present here. It’s especially important to include skills and qualifications that have been mentioned as part of the job description or the requirements section of the advert. This will help you pass applicant tracking systems that screen documents for certain keywords.
Show that you did your research before applying
How can you prove your excitement about the company? By showing that you’ve taken the time to research its issues, goals, and plans. You can also link them to your skills and experience if you want to show that you're really a strong candidate.
In addition to making a great impression, researching the company will help you find out if you really want to be part of this team or not. After all, interviewing is a two-way process.
End with a call to action
While the introduction is the best way to make a good impression, using the right words to end your cover letter can help you get a callback.
Our advice is to make sure that your closing line matches the company culture. However, “Looking forward to hearing from you” and other traditional phrases are always a safe choice.