As unfair as it may seem to put so much stock in one single part of your application, you have to consider the number of people applying for the same job as you are, and figure out a way to stand out. The point is to distinguish yourself, and the content matters. A drab cover letter, riddled with simple errors can portray you as someone who does not have enough attention to detail for the job. Keeping this in mind, we are going to discuss the qualities of a good cover letter, and what you should consider when writing yours.
Qualities of a Good Cover Letter
1. Personalize Your Cover Letter
One sure way to blend in with the crowd of applicants is to write a generic cover letter with headings like, “To whom it may concern”, “Dear Sir/Madam”, followed by a standard introduction about yourself and your resume (but in an essay format). Nothing screams “lack of enthusiasm” like copying and pasting one of those generic cover letters and editing your name and details in.
Even if you’re applying to several places, it’s always worth doing your due diligence on the company – learning the job description and a bit of company history won’t hurt. This way, you can send personalized cover letters to each firm, and increase your chances of getting called in.
2. Keep Things Personal, but Professional
Resumes tend to be extremely formal. They give a somewhat detailed background of your professional experiences, which makes you suitable for the job description. However, the information a resume provides could apply to anyone. Your cover letter gives you the opportunity to show a bit of your character. It gives the interviewer a sense of who you are as a person, and whether you’ll blend in nicely in the work environment. Bear in mind though that there’s a thin line between showing your personality and being unprofessional, so tread carefully.
3. Fill the Gaps in Your Resume
Resumes don’t usually offer much in terms of explaining certain circumstances. If you have a two year unexplained gap between jobs or school, or had a sudden fall in your GPA, your cover letter is the best place to explain these glaring circumstances. Don’t be defensive, just offer some insight into such gaping circumstances, so that the interviewer’s motivated to give you a call.
4. Don’t Forget to Introduce Yourself
Chances are your interviewer’s going to read your cover letter before your resume, so it’s important that you make a great first impression. Some interviewers won’t bother with the resume if the cover letter is subpar at best. Make a splash so your interviewer’s motivated to move on to your resume.
Once you’ve taken these qualities of a good cover letter into consideration, don’t forget to format properly and get a second pair of eyes to go through it. Remember to use your cover letter to add to your resume, and tell them what you can provide to their company. At Bristol Associates, our team is prepared to pair qualified candidates to a company with the position opening.