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
Address your cover letter directly to the hiring manager, whenever possible. This has proven to be a good approach for two reasons.
First, it shows your attention to detail.
Second, it proves that you’re willing to do some research and go the extra mile for the sake of success.
But if finding the recruiter’s name is too difficult, you can go for a traditional gender-neutral phrase.
Here’s our selection of strong salutations. Feel free to borrow any of them:
- Dear Mr. John,
- Dear Ms. Petersen,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Dr. Todd,
- Dear Head of [team you're applying for]
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.
Combine your soft and hard skills for an unbeatable match!
When it comes to listing skills on a cover letter, there’s only one thing that could be said about it – do it in a well thought out way!
We mean, don’t just plainly list all your skills on your cover letter. Instead, link them to achievements and goals. Share how your expertise can add value to the team. Maybe even tell a personal story. It’s up to you.
Just make sure to include both soft and hard skills – especially the ones listed in the requirements section of the job 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 in an actionable way
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.