A Perfect Cover Letter to Get That Dream Job

John Krautzel
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Job applicants who underestimate the importance of a cover letter may find themselves missing out on prime opportunities. Unless an employer specifically advertises that a cover letter is not necessary, plan to include one with your resume and application materials to show off your strengths and unique job skills. The key, though, is to make your letter stand out so you can prepare to say "yes" to your dream job offer.

Highlight Keywords

Spend time during your job search analyzing the company's job description before writing your cover letter. Make note of keywords used several times throughout the advertisement, and use these industry terms in your application materials. Job applicants should also thoroughly search through the company's website to identify any frequently-used terms that are likely to catch a hiring manager's attention when reading through letters and resumes.

Focus on Skills

Whether you are changing fields or focusing on advancing to a leadership position, determine how your skills are transferable. For example, if you have management experience in one industry, highlight the character traits you developed in this position that are frequently desired in the new industry, such as the ability to motivate employees, troubleshoot problems and evaluate staff. When writing your cover letter, list skills that are relevant to your new position to show that you are the most qualified candidate.

Adhere to a Consistent Format

Hiring managers should see a consistent format when reading through your cover letter. Avoid using script font or fonts that are difficult to read. Utilize enough white between each line, and format with consistent lines or bolded text and bullets to make your relevant skills and experience stand out.

Stick to a Structure

A cover letter should have three primary sections. An opening paragraph should clarify the position you are applying for and use language directly from the job advertisement. Your introduction should also detail why you are applying for the position. Spend time during your job search brainstorming your motivation for entering this field to help you craft a creative opening.

Focus on your skills related to the job in your second paragraph. Offer examples of your achievements in previous positions. Provide specific examples, including information about important deadlines you met, satisfied clients or in-house campaigns you led.

Close out your letter with a final section that explains how you can meet the needs of the company. Although you need to sell your skills and experience, hiring managers also need to know how the business would benefit from your contributions.

Complete your cover letter with a closing statement that expresses your eagerness to meet your potential employer in person. Let your enthusiasm and professionalism shine through when crafting your letter so that your application materials land in the hiring pile.

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    it's nice to hear from the hiring side

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Linda J thank you ever so much for your comment. We try to inform job seekers how important the cover letter really is and it's nice to hear from the hiring side of the equation!

  • Linda J.
    Linda J.

    I have been interviewing and hiring people for 15 years and find the cover letter is very telling. It is interesting to read what someone chooses to say in it. It absolutley has made a difference

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Anthony thanks for your comment. So true - some companies will only request a resume because they don't want to read through the cover letter. Why? Because we, as job seekers, don't take the time to write up a really great cover letter thinking that no one is going to read it anyhow. That is why you were told that they are pretty general. Many job seekers will write up on cover letter and then just use it for every position to which they apply. That's not the purpose of a cover letter. The cover letter is to tell them how you would make their company better - not to tell them more about yourself. Many job seekers just regurgitate information from their resume onto to their cover letter. Certainly not the intent of a cover letter. I think that if you take the time to write up a really great cover letter, the hiring manager will be pleasantly surprised and you could be their first interview! Just some food for thought.

  • Anthony Marshall
    Anthony Marshall

    I was told the total opposite about a cover letter from an interviewee. Was told cover letter are pretty general and all say the same thing. Most employers by pass cover letters and go to resume to actually learn the person.

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