Finding a job that excites you is a great feeling. You start imagining yourself in the role, and the future feels bright. To make that vision a reality, you have to clear the hiring hurdles in your path. One of the biggest obstacles is getting an interview. To do that, you need to stand out from the competition, and your cover letter can help.
Writing a great cover letter can really help you stand out. Some candidates don’t even bother. Many applicants cut and paste the company information onto a general letter that they use for every job.
A generic cover letter is the best way to get ignored. To avoid having your resume glossed over by a bored hiring manager, write a cover letter that grabs attention. The perfect cover letter isn’t rocket science. It just requires a little thought, and these elements.
You can use a template. Just find one that looks professional and has room for key elements like:
- Your name
- Key contact info like email address, phone, LinkedIn
- The hiring manager’s name, if you can find it on LinkedIn or the company’s website
Memorable Opening Line
This is critical. So many cover letters sound the same with a matter of fact sentence about their experience or their interest in the position. Grab the hiring manager’s attention. Tell a quick anecdote about a major accomplishment at your current position that relates to the job you want. Tell a quick personal story about how you became interested in your field. A quick story with some punch will grab their attention.
Relate to the Position
In the opening paragraph, follow the opening with a sentence about why you want the job. Be specific about the position and the company to show that you’ve done your research. Follow that with a few highlights of your experience that relate to the job.
Make Your Case
Use the next paragraph to further illustrate your qualifications for the job. Use keywords from the job description and talk about how you meet the requirements. Use specific examples from your experience, with metrics, whenever possible.
Reiterate Your Interest
Close with your enthusiasm for the job. Craft a concise sentence about what you bring to the table without repeating what you’ve just written above.
Move the Process Forward
Conclude your cover letter with an invitation for the next step in the process. Invite them to contact you to follow up on your application, and offer to provide more information.
A great cover letter can make the difference between getting an interview and getting ignored. Keep the paragraphs short so it looks readable at first glance, and write each sentence so they’ll want to read the next. Make sure your cover letter is specific to the job you want and that it has a memorable opening to grab their attention.