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 show your eagerness for the job
We advise you to address the cover letter directly to the person responsible for the recruitment process. If you don’t know their name, take some time to research it.
This will show that you’re attentive to detail and are willing to go the extra mile when necessary.
Here's a list of salutations you can never go wrong with. Note that some of them can be used even if you don’t know who the hiring manager is.
- Dear [company name] Recruiter
- Dear Mr./Ms. Smith
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To the [team you're applying for] Team
A noteworthy introduction is what will grab the reader by the collar and make them want to get to know you better.
But what’s the best way to begin your cover letter? Highlighting your excitement about the position!
Be honest and original – this will get you remembered. You can even link your excitement to the reasons why you’d like to grow in this exact field.
Focus on your soft skills but don't forget about the hard skills too
While the resume is considered the best place to showcase your hard skills and achievements, the cover letter should tell a story and prove your enthusiasm for the field.
This is why we advise you to focus on soft skills and results. Think about all your soft skills and how they have helped you grow as a professional and crush your goals. Then turn this into your own very short success story.
Make sure to include some hard skills too, especially the ones listed as part of the requirements section of the job advert. This will guarantee that you pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that screen applicant documents for keywords.
And remember – the cover letter should include new information without repeating your whole resume. It needs to offer additional value to the recruiter.
Prove that you've researched the company and are aware of industry problems
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.
End on a positive note
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.