3 Simple & Effective Cover Letter Writing Tips That Will Make Your Application Soar

April 25th, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson

Cover letters are a basic requirement for any job application—and they’re often the first material a hiring manager or recruiter reads. As a result, your cover letter provides you an excellent opportunity to capture the attention of prospective employers.

Your cover letter highlights your character and professional ambition, which can’t be expressed through your curriculum vitae or résumé alone. The goal of your cover letter should be to draw closer examination of your application overall.

If you want to make your application stand out, follow these three helpful tips for creating a cover letter that will grab the attention of hiring managers and greatly increase your chances of landing an interview.

1. Hijack the attention of your reader.

Starting any piece of writing with an attention grabbing statement is sound advice, but with a cover letter it’s doubly important. Hiring managers and recruiters see a ton of applications every day.

Take the time to craft a compelling opening statement to sell yourself and hook the reader. For example, we suggest you stay away from generic statements such as:

Dear Mr. Doe, 

My name is Peter Parker and I’m writing you today to express interest in your vacant position for a laboratory assistant.

There’s no need to state your name in your opening since it’s already listed on your application and résumé, and should be at the top of the cover letter, too. In addition, if you’re applying for the position, you don’t need to tell them you’re interested, they’ve already gathered that. Instead, you need to show them why you’re the best fit. For example, consider an approach like this:

Dear Mr. Doe, 

Over the last decade, I’ve built my career around one simple principle: work smart. I’m the person whom is always looking for new ways of doing things to make my work and the work of others more efficient and higher quality. And that’s just one thing I hope to bring to your team at Johnson & Thompson Associates.

2. Highlight what isn’t in your résumé

A common cover letter mistake that job seekers make is simply repeating what their résumé already says about their skills and experience. Your cover letter should complement your résumé, not repeat it in a narrative format.

Use your cover letter to call attention to the experiences and interests that are difficult to squeeze into a one-page résumé. Include examples of special projects you’ve worked on in academic and professional settings that can help illustrate why you’re uniquely qualified for the position.

3. Tell a story.

Don’t overthink this. Your cover letter doesn’t need to be an intricately-plotted Stephen King novel. You just need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The story you’re telling when writing your cover letter is the story of how and why you are applying for the job.

Craft your opening statement to be a unique introduction into who you are as a person and candidate. Then, use the second two paragraphs to highlight why you should be considered for the position—your specific experiences and education that serve you to be successful in this role. The qualifications should directly tie to the qualifications called for in the job posting.

Finally, end your cover letter with a brief wrap up to drive your message home. Revisit a qualification or two, restate your interest in the position, and let them know you’re eager to begin next steps.

The More Creative Your Cover Letter the Better

If you find a way to separate yourself from the crowd in your cover letter you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Remember to catch the reader’s attention right off the bat with an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, highlight what isn’t already featured in your résumé or other parts of your application, and ensure that your cover letter is telling a succinct story.

Now that you have the tools to write a superb cover letter, discover some 8 tip and tricks to help you ace your job interview.

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