Do employers care about cover letters? The short answer is simple: yes, they do. And these documents also present an opportunity for you. Along with your resume, a good cover letter lets you showcase your talent and convince companies of your value as an employee.
The numbers back this up. One study showed that about seven out of 10 recruiters (72%) expect a cover letter, even if the job description says the document is optional.
Not every cover letter gets read — if your resume doesn’t make the cut, the rest of your materials will likely be ignored. Still, cover letters can represent a critical point of differentiation when it comes time to decide who gets an invitation to an interview.
Your job is to get the most out of this opportunity to underscore your best qualities. Here’s how to create a cover letter that can showcase your talent:
The Significance of Having a Cover Letter
Go Beyond Your Resume
If you only repeat the information included in your resume, you’ve wasted an opportunity. The goal is to move beyond those bullet points to give additional information about your value as an employee. View your resume and cover letter as complimentary documents.
Customize for Each Opportunity
Target your cover letter for each position that you apply to. You can start with a standard format but make changes to fit the details of the particular job. That way, you’ll highlight the most pertinent information.
Research the Potential Job
How will you know how to customize your cover letter? Take a deep dive into the position and the employer. Start with the job description and move on to other sources of info about the company, including its website and social media feeds. This information will let you focus your cover letter on the skills and experience most likely to impress.
Add as much detail as possible in your cover letter. This can be a little tricky. You have a limited space to make your case — get too long-winded in the document and hiring managers might just scan it. As a result, you need to find ways to deliver as much information as possible without droning on.
Give Examples and Statistics
In terms of adding specifics, the best strategy involves highlighting your key skills with effective examples and statistics. This will underline the contribution you’ve made to your previous employers. It also lets you expand on the broader information you include in your resume, where space constraints are even tighter than in your cover letter.
Master a Professional, Engaging Tone
A good cover letter requires a balance. You want to maintain a professional writing style (avoid too much bluster and embellishments like exclamation points). However, you don’t want to be boring either.
Perfecting this aspect of your cover letter takes a little work. Review and rewrite your document to master the perfect tone. Keep your reader interested, while still underlining your professional qualities.
Proofread (and Then Proofread Again)
The smallest error could undermine your chances of landing an interview. Hiring managers will scrutinize your resume and cover letter to see if they meet the highest standards of accuracy and precision.
As such, you need to proofread your document closely. Make sure to remove any grammar and spelling errors. This process will also give you a chance to upgrade your style as needed.
Let others read your cover letter, especially for important opportunities. By getting feedback, you raise the chances that you’ll catch any glaring errors. At the same time, you’ll get advice about how to upgrade the document.
Looking to Get Connected to the Right Opportunity?
Professional guidance can also drastically improve your ability to land your dream job. A top recruiter, like Elby Professional Services, will connect you with the top employers in your industry.
Contact Elby today to accelerate your job search.