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.
Use an appropriate salutation and write a powerful introduction
Choosing the right salutation for your cover letter is crucial – after all, it’s the first thing the hiring manager will read.
For this reason, we’ve gathered several classic salutations. Note that some of them could be used even if you don't know the hiring manager's name.
- Dear Mr. James,
- Dear Human Resources Manager,
- To the [team you're applying for] Department,
- Dear [company name] Recruiter
The introduction of your cover letter is the first thing the hiring manager will read. Logically, having a strong introduction is your chance of getting their attention.
In order to do that, you need to get creative. Don’t just do what everyone else’s been doing for years, i.e. writing “I found this job opening on that website and decided to apply”.
Rather, show that you are genuinely excited about the position and the company. You could do that by mentioning your love for the industry or what you can bring to the table.
Talk about your hard and soft skills
The resume is the place to list all your hard skills. The Designer cover letter, on the other hand, is the ideal place to emphasize your soft skills and link them to your achievements.
Think about times when your skills have helped you achieve certain goals that seemed too difficult. And don’t worry about admitting some of your weak sides – this is a great way to show recruiters your potential and ability to grow, both professionally and personally.
Looking at the specific job posting requirements could also give you insight on what skills should be included in your resume by all means. This will help you pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen cover letters for keywords before passing them on to recruiters.
Prove how your skills can help the company grow
Having a paragraph that shows you’re aware of the company and the issues it faces is always a good idea. It proves your enthusiasm to join the team and makes a great impression.
For bonus points, you could also share how some of your strengths could help resolve company or even industry problems.
End with a call to action
Ending your cover letter in an actionable way is one of the things that increase your chances of getting a callback.
The conclusion is also your opportunity to thank the recruiter for their time and consideration, so don’t skip that.
Just make sure to go for an ending that matches the company culture and language. If you prefer to be on the safe side, choose traditional closing lines such as “Looking forward to your reply”.