7 Strategies for Creating a Professional Cover Letter

professional cover letterDon’t underestimate the importance of a professional cover letter when you are applying to a job.  While your resume shows the experience and skills you bring the job, your cover letter allows you to state in a few sentences the most important aspects of yourself that make you the perfect candidate.  If you don’t make your cover letter enticing enough to read, you risk hiring managers completely skipping over your resume and ruling you out as a candidate for the job.  To avoid this happening, here are some tips for writing a professional cover letter:

1)  Keep the format simple

Resist the temptation to use fancy fonts and go overboard with borders and colors.  You want your cover letter to appear professional, easy to read and not distracting to hiring managers. Use a standard font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman or Arial.

2)  Keep it short

Make your cover letter no longer than a couple paragraphs.  The idea is to convince the hiring manager that you are a viable candidate in the least amount of time possible.

3)  Address it specifically

Avoid using phrases like “To Whom it May Concern” in your cover letter.  By doing this you risk looking too generic.  Contact the company to find out who is receiving the resumes for that specific position.  If you are unable to find out who you are addressing, then remove the address line completely.

4)  Include job title and keywords from the job description

Make sure you include the specific job title you are applying for, in case the company is looking to fill several openings.  Also, take some of the key skills, responsibilities and industry terms included in the job description and work them into your cover letter so it is more likely to be picked up by applicant tracking systems.

5)  Express your voice

Unlike your resume, your cover letter allows your voice and personality to shine through.  Don’t be afraid to use aspects about yourself or topics you are passionate about that may not be related to your work experience, but will help you excel in the job you are applying for.  Think of a unique experience you’ve had or trait you possess that is likely to catch a hiring manager’s attention and make you stand out from the crowd.

6)  Focus on the company’s mission

To appear professional and avoid coming across as self-involved, limit the amount of times you use the pronoun “I” throughout the cover letter.  Be sure to state your positive attributes in relation to the company’s goals and values.  This will also signal to the hiring manager that you have done thorough research on the company.

7)  Double-Check for Errors Before Sending

While you want every cover letter to be tailored to the position you are applying for, it is likely you will re-use some of the content you have used in other cover letters.  If you copy and paste content from another cover letter, make sure you remove the job title, person you are addressing, and any other indicators of the previous position you had applied for.   It is easy to overlook these simple things when you are in a hurry, and such a mistake is sure to cause hiring managers to overlook your application completely.

If you need help updating your resume to grab the attention of potential employers, Jobdiagnosis.com’s resume writing service may be just the tool you need.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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