Hello, it’s nice to meet you!
What’s your name?
What do you do?
What do you want to do?
It was really nice meeting you, I’d love to talk to you again sometime.
Much like the first conversation you have with someone, a cover letter should provide a high level view of who you are and leave the reader wanting more. Your cover letter, along with a strong resume, will set the stage for why you would be great for a particular job. You should stand out without showing all your cards the first time they hear your name.
Why is a Cover Letter Important?
The first impression given by a cover letter leaves a greater impact than simply describing your previous employment and qualifications. Side by side, a resume of two individuals is easy to compare, allowing the hiring manager to see who is qualified or not.
However a strong cover letter can move you to the top of the pile for multiple reasons.
Bullets points on a resume leave little room to apply communication skills. On a cover letter though, you have to articulate the highpoints of your past that make you the best candidate for the job. Especially if the job you are applying for is client facing, clients with the strongest communication skill will stand out among the masses.
The other reason that a cover letter is so important when partnered with a resume is because it’s the first sign an organization has as to whether or not you will fit in their company culture. The way in which you write your cover letter and the tone you use if done correctly can make you seem like a great fit on paper, giving you a leg up when you come into the office.
For example, if you are joining an IT firm, then a more technical/ professional tone could be appropriate. However if you are looking to do web design for a marketing firm, being a bit more conversational may strike the proper cord. So do some research on the company before you submit the letter.
What to Put on a Cover Letter
Always keep your cover letter short and simple!
First, address the Hiring manager by name if possible or simply address it, Dear Hiring Manager of the (insert position your applying for name) and introduce yourself. Follow that with personal anecdote and your profession. If possible, include an anecdote that is unique or ties you to the business or company.
Here, explain your work history and accreditations that make you a strong candidate for the job. Describe leadership positions that you have held while detailing the growth you have seen over the course of your career. The key is to focus on information that is NOT in your resume.
Now you don’t have to detail every single event in your professional life, but detailing your development and growth through jobs and accreditations will help the hiring manager understand who you are and lay a solid ground work for your interview. If he sees something intriguing in the letter that he wants to know about, he can ask you in an interview. This alone would set you apart from the crowd because he will remember you when you walk in and after you walk out
‘Ohhh you’re the guy that did that one thing that one time, tell me more about it’
See? You stand out!
At the end, it’s important to articulate the mutually beneficial relationship that hiring you would make. Detail what about them as a company is attractive to you, or why the position you are applying for is intriguing to you. Couple that with a statement on how you would be an asset to their organization and boom you have a cover letter!
If you are looking for that next opportunity to put your new cover letter to use, please send your résumé to GTN Technical Staffing to be contacted by a recruiter. If you’re not sure if you are ready or not, browse our open jobs and see if anything interests you.