Cover letters are not dead yet! And they can be an effective way to help the recruiter or hiring manager identify your talents and capabilities as a viable candidate for a job opening. A well-written cover letter can also help you stand out among your peers.
Your cover letter should exude enthusiasm, motivation, and drive. The reader should be able to see at a glance how well you communicate, and what emotional intelligence you bring to the table.
Here are a few tips:
1. Send a cover letter! It’s surprising today that some executive job seekers don’t send cover letters at all. While it’s a speculated theory that only 50% of cover letters get read, it’s your opportunity to talk about why you’d excel at the job. Don’t squander that opportunity!
2. Cover note or cover letter? Either is fine, however if writing a cover letter, use business letter writing etiquette. A cover letter does give you the opportunity of a more thorough explanation of what’s covered in your attached resume, along with a few standout statements that align your experience with the organization’s needs.
3. Don’t just summarize your resume in the cover letter. Your cover letter should add something new to help you stand out as the perfect candidate, not just reiterate your resume. You can showcase work habits, personal traits, and why you’re interested in the job. It is also a great place to explain industry changes or other issues that may be important to point out.
4. Leave out the sales pitch. Recruiters and hiring managers have heard every cliché there is. A simple straightforward cover letter that explains why you’re a strong match is a better approach. Showing examples that match your experience to the specific qualifications they are looking for is an extremely effective approach.
5. Formal or friendly tone? Don’t be overly casual (no slang) and keep in mind that spelling and grammar really do matter. Keep the tone and language conversational, engaging, and friendly.
6. Show a strong interest in the job. A compelling letter will make a convincing case that you’re interested in the opportunity presented. Explain why – paint a picture in the mind of the reader why you would be a perfect fit.
7. Customize each cover letter. While it’s good to have a cover letter with basic content that can apply generally, you don’t want the recruiter or hiring manager to think they are reading a form letter. Tailor each letter to the specific job so that you really stand out as a good candidate.