Top 7 Ways to improve your cover letter
Cover letters are often the first impression you have a chance to make with an employer. Since the stakes are high, this is a place where I suggest you spend at least 15 to 20 minutes per application tailoring your pitch and language to the role and company. Pitch is the key word here. Cover letters are your sales pitch for yourself, why you're a good fit for that company. So you have to be willing to think critically about how you're going to sell yourself. So let's take a look at a job situation.
Layout Layout: if you are applying for the developmental editor role at XYZ Corp. We already went through my resume customization. We have that list of key words from the job description and the company research. So I have the beginnings here of the cover letter I would put together for this job; a simple date, a greeting, 3 body paragraphs and my closure, Warm regards, and my information.
Size Now there are a few things I want to call your attention to here. I recommend that you stick with no more than 3 paragraphs for your cover letter.
Be Specific Brevity is your friend. People screening resumes just have seconds oftentimes to spend on each cover letter so grab them with a hook at the beginning, and take them all the way through so they're intrigued to meet you. Here's my 3 paragraph model. The first paragraph sells me and my accomplishments. If I'm doing it right it intrigues you to read the second paragraph. The second paragraph connects the dots between what I've done before and what I need to do. It also intrigues you to read the third paragraph. In the third paragraph, I am hitting home that I've done my research and emphasizing that I could hit the ground running. I'm a connected applicant. I know what's going on in this space. I could very quickly add value to XYZ Corp. So there are a couple of changes that I want to make based on my keywords, and I'm going to recommend also that you do this check over your cover letter after you have a draft of it. There are a few buzz words that are in the application information that I want to include.
Donâ€™t Mix Up Multiple Things In One It will help you find mistakes in your writing if you do it that slowly. It forces you to slow down and give some extra thought to each word and make sure it makes sense. You could also hand this document to a trusted friend, and see if they catch any errors that you have missed because you're close to the material. What I want to leave you with about cover letters, and we'll use this as an example again, is keep in mind these 4 things. First of all they're short. These punchy 3 paragraphs are the most you're going to need here.
Allign YourSelf to Company linking my skills back to this job and to the company's mission and values. I can't tell you how many times I've screened resumes where someone sent me the same old thing they probably sent 10 other companies in the same day. They know nothing about the role I'm hiring for, or my company, or me, and this doesn't say that the candidate has taken the care to represent themselves which tells me by extension, they may not take the care to represent me and my company in the best light.
Error Free Finally, the best cover letters are error free. Spelling mistakes and incorrect punctuation or grammar can make you come across looking sloppy and unprofessional which I know is not what you want hiring managers to think of you. Nothing turns a hiring manager off more quickly except perhaps a cover that's too long for them to read, a bad opening hook, or an impersonal quickly dashed off cover. This may seem like a lot of steps and a lot of time spent toward a cover letter, but my news for you is that this is time well spent in your search.
Use Motivational Words Consider this that first chance to pitch yourself so be interesting, likable, motivated, and well researched in order to put your best virtual foot forward. You can see as you read through my cover letter I'm applying for a job that has to do with writing so my goal here in the cover letter was actually to show off those writing abilities to show them what they'd be getting that I can make the connection, that I'm really living what they'd be looking for in a developmental editor in this cover letter. And any time that you can take steps to do the same to have your words match the kind of work you'll do that really positions you to be off to the right start.