At first, you may think that the cover letter should repeat all information from your resume but in a story-like form. However, that’s not true.
Instead of re-writing your resume, you need to focus on making the right impression.
You can do that by talking about the skills that help you overcome challenges, your excitement when it comes to the industry, your past achievements, and your knowledge of the company.
Now let’s look at some other things that will make your cover letter stand out.
We've made an in-depth guide on what should your cover letter include that you can check out!
Choose the right salutation and craft a strong introduction
In general, the salutation you use depends on the tone of voice you’ve decided to go for but also on the company culture.
However, it’s always a good idea to address your letter to the person responsible for the recruitment process. If you don’t know their name, try to find it out. And only if that proves to be impossible, choose a generic salutation.
Here are some phrases you can use (note that some of them require you to know the hiring manager's name):
- To the [team you're applying for] Department,
- Dear Paul Black,
- Dear Hiring Manager,
- Dear Ms. Stone
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.
Mention both your hard and soft skills
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 your passion about the company
Proving that you are familiar with the company, its problems, and its goals is without a doubt one of the best ways to stand out.
If you want to show your passion for the company, mention how your skills and previous achievements can help the team grow.
It’s also worth mentioning how your experience can help resolve some of the most common industry issues.
Go for an actionable 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.