Let’s begin by discussing the difference between a cover letter and a resume. The resume is the place where you should list all your hard skills, achievements, and talents.
The cover letter, on the other hand, is your chance to share more about yourself and show who you are.
But what’s the way to grab the reader’s attention? How can you make the hiring manager want to meet you and learn more about you?
Address your cover letter to the right person and make your introduction strong
We advise you to address the cover letter directly to the person responsible for the recruitment process. If you don’t know their name, take some time to research it.
This will show that you’re attentive to detail and are willing to go the extra mile when necessary.
Here's a list of salutations you can never go wrong with. Note that some of them can be used even if you don’t know who the hiring manager is.
- To the [team you're applying for] Department
- Dear Paul Black
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Ms. Stone
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.
Focus on your soft skills but don't forget about the hard skills too
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.
Prove that you're familiar with the company
Showing that you’ve researched the company and are excited to become part of its team is definitely one of the best ways to prove you're a strong candidate.
Recruiters want to make sure that you’re at least as passionate about the company and the industry as them.
It’s also a good idea to mention how your previous experience could help you in your work and what impact it could have on your long-term performance.
In addition, showing that you are aware of industry or even company issues and are not afraid of facing them will give you additional points!
Finish your cover letter with a call to action
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”.