Let’s begin by discussing the difference between a cover letter and a resume. The resume is the place where you should list all your hard skills, achievements, and talents.
The cover letter, on the other hand, is your chance to share more about yourself and show who you are.
But what’s the way to grab the reader’s attention? How can you make the hiring manager want to meet you and learn more about you?
Choose the right salutation and write a strong introduction
Choosing the right salutation for your cover letter is crucial – after all, it’s the first thing the hiring manager will read.
For this reason, we’ve gathered several classic salutations. Note that some of them could be used even if you don't know the hiring manager's name.
- Dear Mr. John
- Dear Ms. Petersen
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Dr. Todd
- Dear Head of [team you're applying for]
You wonder what the key to good introductions is? (Moderate) Creativity!
You’ve probably heard that many people out there have started using phrases like “I found your job advert on platform X and decided to apply”, right?
And what’s wrong with such phrases, you may ask. They’re outdated and they definitely won't make you stand out, to say the least.
So go for something different. Begin your cover letter by sharing your excitement about the company, the position, and even the field.
Mention both your hard and soft skills
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 soft and hard 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
By now you’ve managed to make a good impression on the hiring manager, and it’s important not to ruin it. That’s why you need your ending to be just as great as your cover letter’s body.
But what are the things that make up a memorable closing line? Expressing gratitude for the reader’s time and consideration, and saying that you look forward to their reply, to name a couple.
You can stick to traditional phrases (e.g. Looking forward to hearing from you soon) if you wish to be on the safe side. Just make sure that the language you use matches the company culture.