According to 83% of hiring managers, cover letters are an important part of every recruiter’s decision-making process.
What’s more, 72% of them will expect you to hand in a great cover letter, even if this part is listed as ‘optional’ on the job advert.
And if you ask our experts, cover letters are an amazing opportunity to tell a personal story and make the right first impression.
But what exactly is a cover letter and how to write a good one? Let’s see…
How to write a Federal cover letter that makes you proud
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.
Address your cover letter to the right person and make your introduction strong
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 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.
Link your hard and soft skills to your achievements
So what skills do you need to include? Well, unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this. It all depends on the job description and the skills you’ve currently got.
According to experts, what recruiters look for in cover letters is how you can link your soft skills to particular achievements and goals. So, try to figure out what has helped you on the way to success.
However, don’t forget about hard skills. Even if they’re not the focus of your happy story, you need to include at least the ones that were mentioned as part of the requirements section of the job posting. This will help you pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen applicant documents for certain keywords and phrases.
Prove that you've researched the company and are aware of industry problems
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.
Finish your cover letter with a call to action
Using the right words to end your Federal cover letter is essential for two reasons.
First, it supports the great first impression you’ve already made. Second, it’s a way to express your gratitude for the recruiter’s time and consideration.
The closing line you choose depends on your preferences and the company culture. If you want to be on the safe side, stick to more traditional phrases, such as “Looking forward to hearing from you” and “Thank you for your consideration”.