Should I Write a Cover Letter?
Not every organization asks for a cover letter. Reading a cover letter takes time, energy, and resources some organizations just don’t have. But, for those that do ask for a cover letter, its important. The cover letter is their way of weeding out less qualified candidates, or those candidates whose attention to detail is anything less than perfect. Just one mistake can make or break a cover letter and your application. So, if you must submit a cover letter, take it seriously. If you are not required to submit a cover letter, think about whether it will add value to your application. If it will, write one; if it won’t, then don’t submit one!
It’s a Sales Pitch!
Writing a cover letter is all about selling yourself. In essence, you are answering the question of why you want to work with an organization, and why you are a strong candidate. Let the reader know how you learned about the opportunity, that you are interested in them, and illustrate the background you have. Now isn’t the time to be humble – brag on yourself, and let the reader know exactly why it is YOU that they are looking for.
Style: Let Your Voice Come Through
The cover letter is an opportunity to demonstrate your personality as well as your experience and writing proficient. If writing a cover letter, make the most of it. The letter should sound like something you would say in real life. Be yourself, and show the reader who you are.
- Start by applying for the position
- Let the reader know how you found out about the position
- Tell the reader why you are interested
- If you have a personal connection, make sure to drop their name
- Preface the skills you will be highlighting in the letter’s body
- Reference qualifications that fit the job
- Go deeper than the skills mentioned in the resume
- Highlight important soft skills
- Provide character examples such as work ethic, attention to detail, going above and beyond, etc.
- Thank the reader for the opportunity to apply to the position (parallel your opening)
- Provide a summary statement (optional)
- Say that you look forward to hearing from the reader. Ask for the opportunity to talk more, or to have an interview
- End with a professional signature line