Writing cover letters can be an interesting challenge for many people who are job searching, but you should always remember that only one person needs to like what they read for you to find success. As long as you focus on improving the quality of the letter itself, you can be confident in your future hiring prospects.
1. Be unique
According to Business Insider, the best way to start your letter is to be unique while still conforming to traditional expectations. It's common that an applicant will write a cover letter just as they'd write a resume, starting with introductions and qualifications of why they'd be the perfect fit for the position itself. This is professional, but often doesn't catch a hiring manager's attention. You'll have more success if you start your letter with an engaging first line or a quick anecdote that shows off your personality and how you'd be perfect for the job at hand. As long as it appropriate, a hiring manager will appreciate the change of pace from typical cover letters, making you a memorable applicant.
2. Tell a story
Once you have your intended opening, try to tell stories from past positions showing off your skills. It's important to focus on both an active connection with the reader's mind and a way to show them exactly what benefits you can bring their company if they were to hire you. Don't be generic in these uses, either. Being able to explain specific results, such as the time you mitigated a major office conflict or when you were able to save a client relationship by yourself, will go much farther in impressing your potential hiring managers.
3. Close well
Just as important as that opening is the closing line. If you've caught a manager's attention, they'll likely read all the way through. As such, you should try to ensure your last words are just as effective as your first. This closing line should be respectful and mindful of their needs while also being confident, but not overbearing (see our next tip), in your skills and abilities. Something simple, where you mention your excitement for being considered while allowing the manager to make the next move, is recommended.
4. Don’t get over-confident
Too many people, when trying to show their skills, err by being too confident. This makes their writing read as either awkward or cocky, neither of which are qualities that managers like. Even if you're writing about the time you single-handedly saved your entire company, remember to use a smattering of humility throughout your cover letter. Some experts say that for every time you use the word "I," you should write "you" twice. That's a difficult goal to achieve, but keeping it in mind will help you avoid going overboard with your portrayal of your confidence.
5. Research will always help
That overbearing confidence from some applicants will look especially bad if the writer makes errors regarding the history or goals of the company they're applying to. Nerd Wallet suggests that before you send off a letter, you should do some research into the company and position you are interested in. Too few job seekers will dash off a cover letter with out-of-date or incorrect information regarding the position, which lands them directly in the "no" pile. Avoiding this is easy as long as you take the time to do your homework.
That research should also carry over into potential job keywords that employment agencies and industry experts will expect. In some cases, they'll be absolutely necessary, as larger corporations often use software to scan resumes for their specific needs, using keyword searches. As such, you should look directly at the goals and requirements of a job listing and use those same key words in your application. This will help you pass through the computer-based rejection net.