When submitting a job application, many organizations now require you to submit a cover letter along with your resume. Cover letter writing may seem easy, but it is often misunderstood. It is not simply an expanded version of your resume. The hiring manager has already read your resume, so there is no need to restate things. Instead, a good cover letter should tell a story that relates why you are a good fit for the job in question. Here are some tips to get you started:
- If you want to catch the employer's eye, it is important to have a strong opening. Instead of going with the standard "I saw your opening for [insert job here] and would like to express my interest in the position," why not go with something that stands out a little more? Try opening with an anecdote that explains how you first became interested in the line of work you are applying to. For example: "I grew up in a house that emphasized service and giving back to the community. Ever since then, I knew that I wanted to work for a nonprofit job." Then you can go on and explain your background in greater detail.
- Just like your resume, you don't want your cover letter to be too long. A hiring manager's time is valuable, so you don't want to lose them by going on and on. Keep it short and sweet.
- Never submit the same cover letter to multiple organizations. Employers will be able to tell when something is cut and pasted. Create a cover letter template to work from, but make sure each one you submit is tailored to the job you apply to.
- Make sure your cover letter ending is strong. Don't end with passive statements like "I hope to hear back from you in the near future." Convey to the employer that you plan to be in touch with them within the week to further discuss the position.
These tips should get you well on your way to creating a great cover letter. Don't get frustrated if you don't get the response you were hoping for when you submit your first few cover letters. You should only consider revising your cover letters if you are not finding success after a significant amount of applications.