How to write a cover letter that stands out

person_writing_ a_great_cover_letter.jpgMost likely, people who are aiming for the same jobs as you have similar educational backgrounds, work experience and skills. How can your application shine among those resume piles? How do you convince the hiring managers and recruiters that you are the one they should short-list and call? Your cover letter can help you!

A well-written cover letter is as important as an impressive resume. It gives you the opportunity to tell your story and present yourself beyond what your resume demonstrates. But most job-seekers forget how important cover letters can be and write it as a simple summary of skills and experience.

Follow these tips to make your cover letter the one that makes hiring professionals smile.

Start with a story

The first paragraph of your cover letter has to be the attention grabber. After the first few sentences, the reader will either be excited to know more about you or decide to move on to the next applicant. People are drawn to the narrative. Start with a story that shows them why you would be a good fit for the position.

Instead of starting with something like this:

“I am writing to apply for the position of Sales Associate at Happy Travel Inc. I believe my skills and experience make me the perfect candidate…”

Try something like this:

“I started solo traveling when I was eighteen. Throughout every journey, I enjoyed meeting people while learning to communicate across languages and culture. Accordingly, I have gained excellent interpersonal skills and confidence to communicate myself well across various situations. Each destination and each person I met enriched my understanding of the uniqueness, needs, and wants of others and the world. I believe my personality and experience make me an exceptional candidate for the position of Sales Associate at Happy Travel Inc.”

Another great post by Book Sadprasid: How to get a job with a liberal arts degree

Know your audience

Spending 10 to 15 minutes on the Internet to find out more about the company and its employees can help you understand what kind of person they’re looking to hire. Knowing the company’s work culture and the way it promotes it’s brand online (ex: via social accounts) can help you determine the level of formality your letter should have.

Information like employees’ work history and educational attainment most likely can be found on LinkedIn. Many companies also use Instagram to showcase their work culture. Therefore, it’s a great place for job seekers to learn about their potential employer.

Show don’t tell

It’s too easy to say that you are passionate about something, which makes you qualified for the job. Hiring managers and recruiters read and hear this all the time. If you want to tell your potential employer that you are passionate about what they do,  show them by giving examples of your related work or volunteer experience.

For example:

If you are applying for a sales associate position at a travel agency, say how often you take a trip, how many places you have been, how well you understand the value of a travel agency, rather than just blankly saying that you love the company, hire me.

Concise and Clear

Like everyone, you want to make sure you give enough detail to fully express all the awesome reasons why you are the one the company should hire. But hiring managers don’t have a lot of time. So, an eight hundred word cover letter is probably is not going to help you get the job. While you write, it’s important to keep asking yourself if that information is needed and focus only on your top unique qualities that align with the job ad.

Got an interview? Congrats! Read this first:  Best and worst answers to common interview questions