Writing a cover letter can seem like a daunting task. It can be very basic, stating that you are submitting your resume for consideration and highlighting some of your strengths and attributes. Or, ideally, it is a more detailed document that introduces you on a more personal level to your perspective employer. Either way, it is the first opportunity your new employer has to get to know you, and may make the difference between you being invited to a job interview or having your resume passed over. A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression.
Remember these key points:
- A cover letter should supplement your resume. Your resume captures the factual information, outlining duties and accomplishments specific to each position you have held. The cover letter is an opportunity for you to highlight the skills and attributes that you have that make you the ideal candidate for the position.
- The information in your cover letter should be directly aligned to the requirements of the position for which you are applying.
- Take the time to research the company, and find out their values and goals. Show how you match those values, making you the “right fit” for the job.
- Your cover letter should be specific to the position for which you are applying, relating your skills and experience to those noted in the job posting. Do not design a form letter and send it to every potential employer.
- Make sure you follow the instructions on the job poster. If it states that they are looking for specific information to be included in the cover letter, ensure that information is there.
Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences as they relate to the position. They should express a high level of interest and knowledge about the organization and why you are the best candidate for the job. Don’t be afraid to use different aids in building your cover letter, from looking at other examples, getting feedback from people in your field, or utilizing a career coach. These can assist you as you begin your journey to a new and exciting career.