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 that 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
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 hard and soft 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're familiar with the company
Showing that you’ve researched the company and are familiar with it is a good way to prove your work-readiness.
It will also point the recruiter to the fact that your skills and qualifications will have a long-term impact on the company. Just link some of your strengths to the ways in which current or potential issues can be resolved.
Choose the right ending
The last paragraph of your cover letter should briefly sum up the whole text. This is the time to express your motivation to get to the next step of the hiring process, but also your gratitude for the reader’s time and consideration.
You can be creative or use traditional closing lines here – it all depends on your preference and the company culture.