The one-two punch of a strong resume and cover letter can be your most effective tool for securing a new career; while your resume provides a point-by-point overview of your experiences, your cover letter can tell your story in a more personal way.
Unfortunately, in a highly competitive job market, it’s easy to feel lost in a sea of similar sounding application materials:
“Dear Sir or Madam,
I’d like to apply for a job at ___.
I’m a hard worker.
Also, I’m a team player!
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience”
Crafting a cover letter that stands out can mean the difference between being passed over and being invited to interview. Here are a few tips to turn your cover letter from cliché to a knockout:
Research, Review, Repeat
In all phases of the job search, it is extremely important to research the companies that you are interested in joining. A focused review of the company’s website, social media pages and other public information not only gives you a better sense of what to expect in a potential role, but also cues you in to specific phrases and terminology to include in your writing. Mentioning recent news or tying the organization’s core values into your own personal experiences shows an attention to detail and gives your cover letter added relevance.
Get to the Point/Tell a Story
A cover letter should be succinct. In order to keep your length to the commonly accepted one-page format, it is important to avoid the clutter of clichés and dive right into sharing engaging information. But beware – don’t just repeat your resume! Your experiences are more than just a bullet on a list. Take this opportunity to turn your resume into the story of you.
Showcase Problem Solving
At the end of the day, an employer is reaching out to new job hopefuls in order to solve a problem. Maybe their team has been working short-handed for a few months; maybe the department needs to inject a new way of thinking into the office; maybe a new project is on the horizon. Whatever the need may be, find the ways you can make a difference and address them directly. Being straight forward about the impact you expect to make immediately opens an employer’s eyes to your potential value.
Along with a solid resume, your cover letter can be your ticket in the door to many exciting interview opportunities. Taking the time to research, tell a story and position yourself as a solution can help your cover letter stand out.