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?
Choose the right salutation and craft a strong introduction
It’s always better to address your cover letter to a specific person. This shows that you’ve taken the time to research who the hiring manager might be and that you’re attentive to detail.
However, in case you don’t know the recruiter’s name, you can go for traditional gender-neutral salutations.
Here are some of our suggestions:
- Dear Ms. Smith,
- Dear Peter Roberts,
- To the [company name] Recruitment Team,
- Dear Hiring Manager
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.
Link your hard and soft skills to your achievements
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.
Prove that you've researched the company and are aware of industry problems
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!
End with a call to action
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.