Your dream job is out there. But no matter how qualified you are or how perfect for the job you might be, you won’t get it without an interview. And the only way to get an interview is to write a strong cover letter and resume. These tips, tools, and books can offer you practical advice to polish up your cover letter and give you the best chance possible of landing an interview.
Keep these seven tips in mind when you sit down to write your cover letter.
Don’t Repeat Your Resume – It’s easy to be tempted to repeat your resume. Avoid doing this. Instead, use the valuable opportunity to delve deeper into your history. Talk about your experiences outside of those mentioned on your resume.
Use Numbers – Numbers are impressive. They show hiring managers that you understand what matters to them and the company. If you have any accomplishments that you can express in numerical form, do so in your cover letter.
Don’t Start With Your Name – Just skip this step completely. Your name should be in a header or footer on your cover letter in case it is separated from your resume. It should also be on your resume and your application. Introducing yourself by name is redundant.
Show What You Can Bring To The Company – It’s easy to gush about how much you love the company. Maybe you’ve been humming their jingle since you were a kid. But that’s not going to get you hired. Focus in what skills you will bring to the table and how you can contribute to the company’s mission and goals.
Tell A Story – Paint a picture with your cover letter. Tell the reader a story of how you developed your skills and what brought you to this company. Be unique. Tell them what makes you stand out.
Write In The Company’s Voice – Spend some time researching the company’s website and social media pages. Then, write your cover letter using the same tone of voice. If the web copy is extremely formal and you write a very casual cover letter, you will likely be dismissed. The same is also true in reverse.
Incorporate Keywords – Read the position description and requirements, and use the same keywords in your cover letter. If you’re a manager and the description calls for a strong leader, don’t write that you’re an “excellent manager.” Write that you’re a “strong leader.”
These online tools will aid you in the writing process and improve the clarity and readability of your writing.
Hemingway Editor – Run your cover letter through Hemingway Editor to check for readability. If any sentences are difficult to read, the website will highlight them for you.
Read-Able – Read-Able allows you to enter either text or a URL. The website will then check the content of the cover letter for readability.
NinjaEssays – Ninja Essays can help with the proofreading and editing process. They can also format your cover letter or write it for you.
PlagTracker – Be sure your cover letter is plagiarism free with PlagTracker’s software.
Cover Letter Builder – This website actually builds a cover letter for you based on your career goals. It’s convenient and shockingly effective at creating strong cover letters.
Smart Cover Letter – Smart Cover Letter builds your cover letter by letting you choose from a collection of paragraphs and then customize them as necessary.
Pick up one of these books to brush up on your cover letter language and writing skills.
Knock ’em Dead Cover Letters by Martin Yate
When reading Martin Yale’s Knock em Dead Cover Letters, you will learn how to use keywords to improve the effectiveness of your cover letter. You will also learn tips and tricks on how to structure the letter, how to find the contact information you need, and how to learn where to send a hard copy of your letter.
Cover Letter Magic by Wendy S. Enelow and Louise M. Kursmark
Cover Letter Magic was written by a team of professional cover letter writers. The book teaches readers how to write phenomenal cover letters that not only engage the reader’s attention, but also get interviews. There are 130 sample cover letters and “before and after,” letters to highlight the impact of a few small changes.
15-Minute Cover Letter: Write an Effective Cover Letter Right Now by Michael Farr
Beyond just a lesson on writing cover letters, 15 Minute Cover Letters also offers readers practical advice on the job-hunting process as a whole. There are sample cover letters and resumes as well as job-hunting tips.
These tips, tools, and books have all the information you need to drastically improve the quality of your cover letters. Take the skills you’ve gained to impress your future employers, and get out there and write a killer cover letter!
Julie Petersen is a blogger, tutor and an author of the educational blog AskPetersen. Check her profile and contact her on Linkedin.