So what does a good cover letter look like?
Well, it’s written in a tone of voice that matches the specific company’s culture, and it’s not just a long-form resume. It’s also focused on making the right impression.
We advise you to talk about your achievements, goals, and motivations, rather than just plainly listing your skills and experience. Try to tell a personal story.
And if that’s not enough, we have some additional pro tips for you.
Choose the right salutation and show your eagerness for the job
Addressing your cover letter to a specific person works in your favor for two reasons: it shows your attention to detail, and it proves that you’ve taken the time to research who the person might be.
However, sometimes this might be much more difficult than expected. On such occasions, we advise you to focus on salutations that go beyond the impersonal “To Whom It May Concern”.
Here’s a brief list of suitable phrases:
- To the [team you're applying for] Department,
- Dear Paul Black,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Ms. Stone
The introduction is your chance of getting the reader’s attention and giving them a reason to see you as a good fit.
So make sure you highlight your excitement about the company or the industry (or even both!) and the reasons why you’d like to grow in the field.
Avoid using clichés like “I found your job posting on website X and decided to apply”.
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
Showing that you’ve researched the company and are excited to become part of its team is definitely one of the best ways to prove you're a strong candidate.
Recruiters want to make sure that you’re at least as passionate about the company and the industry as them.
It’s also a good idea to mention how your previous experience could help you in your work and what impact it could have on your long-term performance.
In addition, showing that you are aware of industry or even company issues and are not afraid of facing them will give you additional points!
Choose the right ending
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”.