How to Create Your Best Cover Letter!
Cover letters can be challenging to write, especially when you know that your letter will affect how potential employers view you. But, writing a good cover letter goes beyond being grammatically correct and listing important information; you want your letter to be so memorable that employers feel compelled to return to it once they have exhausted the pile of applicants. Although starting your letter may be difficult, here, we will examine methods for creating a good impression with your cover letter.
1. Examine Your Language
Although there is no one way to approach composing a good cover letter, you can start by reviewing at the kind of language you are using. Is it too casual? Formal to the point that it sounds convoluted? More important, are you using any tired phrases that could be found in any cover letter devoid of passion and personality? Be authentic and concise! Remember that voice and style matter when you are portraying yourself to others.
2. Tailor Your Cover Letter to the Position
Make sure that your cover letter is tailored specifically for the job for which you are applying. While this may seem like common sense, you might want to pay extra attention to it if you have a template that you use for most positions. For instance, you would probably not want to send in a letter to one company in which you describe how enthusiastic as you are about the work being done at Other Company. Proofread your letter to ensure that the company’s name is correct and that you are addressing the right person. Know the exact name of the position for which you are applying. It is embarrassingly easy to get mixed up with a position you applied for elsewhere.
3. Avoid clichés and generic phrases.
Avoid generalisms such as “I am perfect for this position.” Not only do generalisms make very lofty assumption about one’s abilities, but, also, they fail to offer anything concrete or provide evidence of your skills or experience. Talking yourself up is one thing; after all, a cover letter is essentially an exercise in selling yourself. But you need to make sure you back up your claims with evidence. Avoid being vague. Telling employers that you are qualified for the job tells them nothing that they do not already know (or should know). Show how you would approach the job and why your approach is the most effective way. Illustrate your points with past experiences.
a. Avoid Saying “I’m a good team player.”
Again, employers expect this much of their applicants, especially for positions that require significant amounts of social interaction. You can mention ways in which you worked on a team in the past or speak of a specific project that you took on solo, but as always, be sure to be specific. Anyone can say that she works well in a team; the one who can demonstrate such a skill clearly will get the extra look.
b. Avoid these clichés: “I’m a hard worker,” “I’m detail-oriented,” “I’m a self-starter,” and “I have great communication skills.”
Once again: show, do not tell! These skills are perfectly fine ones to have and to speak fondly of; in fact, many employers seek them out in candidates. However, if you do not have any concrete examples to spare—an award, a past job experience, or something else of note—then employers may rightly assume that you are just telling them what you think they want to hear. It means nothing if you cannot deliver, and when you apply for a job, you want to stand out by delivering. So to emphasize once again: back up your claims!
4. Avoid asking for an interview or an in-person meeting prematurely.
The fact of the matter is that reviewing your resume and cover letter is all part of the application process. If you are worth closer consideration, it will show, and the hiring manager will approach you as needed. Asking for a face-to-face meeting before undergoing the preliminary screening stages is not only unnecessary, it can be extremely off-putting and reveal a certain lack of self-awareness.
5. Avoid premature salary discussions.
Do not include salary information in your cover letter unless you are specifically asked to provide it. You risk underpricing yourself right from the start. On the other hand, you might offer a number that is completely unrealistic, which would not look particularly favorable. The best thing to do is to avoid talking numbers if it is not necessary.
Again, do not try to skip essential parts of the application process. Your one job is to be authentic and express a positive interest in the position, showing experience. Once you do that, the rest is up to the employer. If a hiring manager reviews your material and finds you worthy of a closer look, you will get it.
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Are you looking for a new opportunity? Would you like some help in working through these tips or would you like assistance with your cover letter or your job search strategy, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. Or, if you are seeking a new finance/accounting position, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are seeking a position as a lawyer or legal assistant, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.