Submitting applications for a job in-person is an outdated, but still effective method. In a digitized era, many Americans now utilize online resources to find specific and more specialized jobs relating to their field of study. The odds of winning over a job online have lessened and competition for jobs becomes more intense, especially while facing a mass pandemic.
Struggling with COVID-19 or online competition aside, learning how to professionally write a cover letter can prove useful in many circumstances. But how will it stand out from others? First, let us discuss common questions and myths about cover letters:
Question: Are cover letters for corporate level careers?
Answer: No. Many companies, small or large scale, can appreciate a dedicated letter. In fact, going out of the way to write a cover letter when most applicants might not have, can be the moment of landing a job!
Question: Why do I need a cover letter when I have a resume?
Answer: A cover letter summarizes a story about you and is more personal. Cover letters serve a different purpose than a resume and allows employers a closer glimpse of who you are and if you are the best candidate for the position. Cover letters may also serve as a way of targeting specific aspects in the job that can highlight your skills and qualifications without resume bullet points.
Question: When are cover letters necessary?
Answer: Typically when,
- Candidates are referred through recruiters.
- When you are addressing a specific person within the company that you know personally.
- When it is required for the position/the hiring manager asks for one.
Now that the basics of a cover letter are explained, let us jump in on the real process of creating one from scratch and how to get noticed.
Tailoring a Cover Letter – Every cover letter sent out to an employer SHOULD BE DIFFERENT! Using a basic template and generalized words will likely not make the cut. The point of utilizing a cover letter should demonstrate to employers how an applicant can showcase their unique experiences by sharing goals, achievements, work ethic, and specific skills attained that match the position applied for.
For example: The position online is: Managerial Salesman (cars, furniture, or anything sales related, and commission based.)
Your cover letter might include: A dedicated salesman with three years of managerial experience, professionalism and customer satisfaction have always been a key success factor in mind. My expertise knowledge in this field closely align with the position outlined.
Be Passionate – Employers love to see applicants who have positive attitude, high energy, and enjoy the job. In the example above, an employer can see the basics from the applicant, and that this candidate might fit the job perfectly. However, the example below makes a big difference when an applicant is enthusiastic and passionate through a cover letter:
Cover letter example: I am confident in the skills I have honed as a managerial sales leader of three years and customer satisfaction is always a rewarding experience. Breaking sales records and goals are exciting and fulfilling. I believe my expertise knowledge in this field closely align with the position outlined.
Adding Keywords – Some companies potentially screen resumes or cover letters for keywords to save time and seek best matches. Using keywords from the job description is a great idea, however, leaning on keywords too much can also hold you back. Make sure you, as an applicant, are standing out in your own way, while utilizing an acceptable number of keywords.
Addressing/Personalizing – A cover letter should note who you are reaching out to personally. If you are unsure who to address, research the company staff or give them a call. Include details such as any relevant information about the company that matches your goals, achievements, studies, etc. while keeping it brief and to the point.
Lastly, do not forget to proof-read or have someone look over you cover letter!