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…
Have a janitor cover letter that tells your story
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!
How to choose the most suitable salutation and make a good impression
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 Hiring Manager,
- Dear Head of [team you're applying for],
- Dear [company name] Recruiter,
- Dear Alex Johnson
Coming up with a good introduction is your chance to make the right impression and give the hiring manager a solid reason to remember you.
So instead of going for popular opening lines such as “I found your job advert on website X”, prove that you are actually passionate about the position. Share why you would like to grow in this field and what makes the company exciting.
Talk about your hard and soft skills
So you’ve listed all your hard skills on your resume, now what?
It’s time to think about the soft ones. But remember, it’s essential to not just list your soft skills but to link them to the actual ways they can help you do well in the future.
And what about hard skills, have we completely crossed them out? No, not at all. You still need to mention some of these if you want to pass applicant tracking systems that screen texts for certain keywords. Check the requirements section of the job advert for a complete list of phrases you need to include.
Prove that you're familiar with the company
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.
Choose the right closing line
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.