The cover letter is usually the first thing the hiring manager sees, and is one of the best tools to make a positive first impression. TAG's recommended cover letter strategies will improve the effectiveness of your cover letter and ensure you convey the right message.
In a nutshell, your cover letter should say, "I'm the right person for the job. I have unique skills and experience that will help your company right away. I hope you're as excited about this as I am." The accompanying resume should then prove your case. Put another way, the cover letter is the advertisement for your resume.
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Tailor the cover letter specifically to the job opening and company
Research the firm and the industry through the Internet, trade publications and the library. Within the letter, demonstrate your knowledge of the field and the position’s requirements, and explain why your background meets the organization’s needs.
Focus on the needs of the employers and how you would solve their problems
Employers have problems, that's why they're hiring! Your cover letter should say: "I'm the answer to your problems."
Display knowledge of the company
With the amount of information available on the Internet, you should be able to drop one or two facts/names into your cover letter to show you've done your homework on the company and its products, needs, challenges, etc. If you offer well-researched suggestions that will work right away for a company, they WILL call you.
Briefly state your best qualifications and achievements
Be careful not to rehash your resume in the cover letter. Instead, generate interest by focusing on key aspects of your background that relate directly to the job opportunity.
Demonstrate your enthusiasm about the opportunity
Avoid sounding like 90% of applicants, who say (not in so many words): "Give me a job where I can advance and make more money." Instead, convey this: "I'm excited about the possibility of bringing my skills to work for you."
State that you will follow up to schedule an interview
If you politely inform the reader that you'll be calling within a few days to answer any questions and schedule an in-person interview, you set yourself apart from the crowd with your determination and confidence.
Keep your letter short and focused
Most letters ramble on in excruciating detail for one or even two full pages. Show respect for the limited time your reader has and limit yourself to four, five or six paragraphs at most.
Address the letter to the person who is hiring
Verify and double-check the spelling of the name and the person's title.
Check, Check, Re-check
Take advantage of your computer's spell check function, then proofread carefully. Ask others to proofread for you as well.
Get started on your cover letter today by reviewing TAG's cover letter essentials. Additionally, we have some great resume resources and interview tools you might find beneficial as well.