Write A Cover Letter That Opens Doors: Step-By-Step Guide
A great cover letter can entice the hiring manager to call you even before they read the attached resume. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? What’s even better news for you is that your covering letter can be exactly like this – provided that you follow the set of professional writing rules.
There’s an ongoing discussion about whether cover letters are still necessary for a modern job-seeker. Some recruiters admit to never reading cover letters at all! However, this only stems from the uniformity of cover letters. 90% of them sound similar, don’t promote the job-seeker for the role and contain lots of mistakes. Want to make your covering letter perfect and one of its kind? Read below.
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Cover letter writing guide from the best cover letter proofreader
Whether you write cover letter for a job or academic institution, the structure is basically the same and contains the elements as follows:
- Your full name and contact info – ideally, formatted in the same style as the resume. Consistency in documents’ formatting shows your professionalism and serious attitude. Our consultant also recommends that you double check the spelling of this section and avoid including ‘funny’ email addresses (such as ‘email@example.com’).
- The opener – the first paragraph is reserved for salutation and it should also engage the reader. Cookie-cutter openers such as ‘My name is Jon Snow, and I am applying for a position of a project manager’ don’t work. Here are a few for writing a good opening statement: show your personal connection with the company; drop a name of the referral from the company; mention the recent event connected with the organization. You can also add some keywords to use in a CV to increase the relevance of your application.
- The letter body – write 1-2 paragraphs (or a paragraph and one bulleted list) and tell the employer your professional assignments and accomplishments. The facts you choose to use in a letter should be relevant for the job posting. Avoid clichés and buzzwords and concentrate the juicy facts only – below you’ll find helpful tips on building this section.
- The closer – the last paragraph is used to express gratitude for hiring person’s time and consideration. However, the courtesy itself doesn’t make the cut – you need to include a call to action to make them buy into you.
10 pro tips for writing a cover letter
If you are determined to write a selling cover letter, rely on our professional advice. It works pretty effective for all careers. If you’re an engineering PhD, creator or a copywriter, use the tricks below, and you’ll be a huge step ahead of your competitors for the job. By the way, professionals of our resume agency use them when creating letters for clients.
Make it less than one page
There isn’t a universal advice for all career situations, but in most cases an ideal cover letter should be 3-4 paragraphs in length and take a half or ¾ of a page. This length is enough to share the juiciest career details without lengthy preambles and secondary facts.
Write a custom cover letter for every job
Generic cover letters don’t work. Hiring managers have to process hundreds of applications, and they can spot a cookie-cutter letter at a glance. And this kind of letter won’t be of any help for getting an interview, as the recruiters typically don’t read them. For some, a meaningless letter is a reason to reject your resume as well.
Luckily, writing that letter from scratch every time isn’t necessary. If you apply for similar roles, you’ll only need to customize a paragraph or two – for instance, provide different examples of skills and accomplishments. A resume should be customized accordingly: http://resumeperk.com/blog/why-you-need-a-custom-resume-and-how-to-create-it.
Don’t repeat your resume
Don’t see a cover letter as another version of your resume. It should be informative and make sense as an independent document. Use the facts from the resume and present them under different angle – or provide a few extra details. For example, if your resume states that you’ve exceeded sales target by 35% quarterly, in a letter you can mention that this was achieved through incorporation of innovative technique of sales. Probably, the company representative schedules an interview with you just to find out more.
Find a person to address it
The worst salutation ever is ‘To whom it may concern’ - in 2019 is unforgivably rude. It indicates both lack of your interest in a position and lack of customization. Moreover, there are a plenty of ways to find out who is hiring: you can determine the name of the HR person via LinkedIn, call the company to find out who is hiring for a certain role, or at least Google this information. Address your letter to that person directly and send your application to their email rather than sending it to a generic email or uploading via job site. Thus, you’ll get more chances for a close consideration.
Write from the company’s point of view
The lion’s share of applicants writes cover letters without keeping the focus on the employer’s needs. They brag about their past experiences and accomplishments, but fail to ask themselves how those accomplishments can be connected with the company’s needs, our resume expert says. So, before putting something on the cover letter, ask yourself: does this information helps demonstrate the traits the company is seeking? Can this accomplishment serve as proof of my ability to deliver outstanding results for them?
For instance, if the company is looking to hire a blogger to build the connection and establish credibility, it makes sense to highlight successes in written communication. However, if they need a blogger to appear in search results more often and get more reads, it’s the SEO optimization and internet marketing that you should focus on in that cover letter.
Use the power of numbers
Nothing entices hiring managers more than the reasonable use of numbers. The money you saved, people you led and trained, sales targets you exceeded – all is good to prove your professionalism. Even if you haven’t worked with numbers actually, there’s always a way to quantify your experiences. You can’t help but agree that: “Improve the office processes to reduce time loss by 15%” sounds better than “An organizational efficiency adept”.
Make it personal
A cover letter writing advice that never gets old is making it personal. Among the dozens of generic letters full of clichés, the one that tells your personal story immediately gets noticed. How you can make that letter sound personal? Tell about your connection with the company’s product or service - for instance, a story about how you first bought the company’s cosmetics. Or, if the company has an environmental responsibility program, you can showcase the fact that you’re a vegan or buy recycled goods only. It will show your motivation behind the money.
Write using the company’s tone of voice
One of the things a cover letter is meant to highlight is a cultural fit. The proven way to do it is to review the company’s website and other materials to get a sense of their values and tone of voice. Mirror them as you write, and you’ll sound like a perfect cultural fit.
Consider using a testimonial
Thoughtful job-seekers insert the positive feedback from their boss or client straight into a resume. You can go even further and use a testimonial in a cover letter. Just make sure that it isn’t a bit generic: feedback that sounds like “Marylyn is a great programmer and I enjoyed working with her” gives no information for a potential employer.
Proofread carefully – or hire a cover letter editing service
Cover letter mistakes are huge deal-breakers. As you’ve completed writing, be sure to proof it for mistakes. Devote enough time to correction of the grammar, spelling, style of writing and check facts. If possible, have English resume proofreaders to take a look at it prior to submission. Most hiring managers decline the application with errors, so don’t put your interview chances at stake.
Pick a few tips which are easy for you to implement and start creating your letter. If you use the professional advice right, this letter will distinguish you from other job-seekers. But be careful: if you create a truly irresistible cover letter, you might be spammed with job offers. In this case, figuring out how to decline job offer will do you any harm.
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If the writing tips above sound mind-blowing or you are too busy to customize that cover letter for every role, consider hiring professional executive resume writers to do the work for you. Our writers have authored thousands of cover letters that promote candidates for their dream jobs and will help create a selling copy for you as well.
Benefit from services of online cover letter writers
Do you have a resume but feel that a cover letter undersells you? Or maybe, a single thought of composing one dreads you? Our experts can do the work for you so you won’t have to fight that writing block. Why hire a professional? Firstly, if it’s urgent, the writer of Resumeperk.com can deliver your letter in 24 hours or less. Secondly, it’s cheap even for students – learn our prices for cover letter writing. At the same time, quality isn’t compromised, and you are not paying for unlimited revisions and consulting of your writer. And finally, you can get a British or American writer (or even a French assistant) to work on your cover letter writings.
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