Many job seekers believe the cover letter is one of the more difficult pieces of the job search. Most people, by now, understand at least the basics of a resume. But a cover letter is very different: it is your chance to explain why you fit the position– in your own words.
So, where do you begin? You cannot simply repeat information from the resume– the hiring manager either already knows your qualifications or will soon find out by reading the resume itself. Instead, use the following ideas to help spice up your cover letter.
Cover Letter Idea #1: Highlight Company Knowledge.
Do you know anyone who works at the company you are targeting? The cover letter is a great place to mention any connections you may have. You can also describe how you fit the company’s mission statement. Even small comments about recent developments in the company can prove that you are knowledgeable about current events.
Cover Letter Idea #2: Describe a Time You Were Highly Successful.
While this idea may seem obvious, many people that attempt to tell a story in the cover letter are not successful. You need to be specific, concise, and effective. Remember, the cover letter should not be more than a page long (in the vast majority of cases). You cannot afford to waste space. Focus on talking about the situation, action, and results of the story. The results are the most important part – try to use numbers to demonstrate tangible evidence of your success.
Cover Letter Idea #3: Utilize Bullet Lists.
The body of the cover letter does not necessarily need to be a paragraph of text. Instead, try using a bullet list of action items: results, achievements, awards, or relevant experience. You can even describe related skills, as long as you back up those skills with small phrases or explanations to prove that you are doing more than listing off keywords.
The cover letter is only one piece of your job search. While it is an important document, do not spend all of your time trying to perfect it down to the placement of the last period. Pick an idea, write it out, have someone proofread it, and then get out there and network!