So what’s the difference between a cover letter and a resume?
In short – the resume showcases your achievements and skills, while the cover letter focuses more on your personality and motivations.
Of course, you should mention some of your relevant skills in the cover letter as well. But make sure you’re not repeating your resume word by word.
Now let's move on to the things that make every cover letter great!
Address your cover letter to the right person and make your introduction strong
Addressing your cover letter to a person is always something you should aim to do.
But finding who's responsible for the recruitment process might not be the easiest thing. We get it.
In such cases, we advise you to stick to the gender-neutral cover letter salutations.
Here are some examples of suitable classic salutations:
- 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.
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.
Show that you did your research before applying
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 on a positive note
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”.