Do you need a cover letter as part of your job search materials? Yes! In fact, your cover letter may be the most important document you send to a potential employer when applying for a job.
Your cover letter is your first introduction to a hiring manager and first impressions are important. Make the letter as powerful and informative as possible.
A good cover letter will capture the attention of the hiring manager and outline why you stand out from the competition. Therefore, you will need to describe what makes you different and more valuable than all of the other applicants.
Review the position requirements carefully. Focus on how you can help your new employer in your new position. Show that you have done your research and include some language evidencing your knowledge of the company’s business and operations. Let them know you are ready to contribute immediately!
Avoid restating the information included in your resume. Your cover letter is your opportunity to add to your resume and explain how you would add value to your future employer.
Also avoid using clichés when describing yourself in your cover letter. Everyone is intelligent, hard-working and a team player. Include information regarding projects and prior experience and other specific examples of what sets you apart from all of the other applicants. This your chance to shine!
Cover letters come in a variety of formats but usually include three sections:
Your College Career Center’s office may have a preferred format. Start there but remember that your letter needs to stand out from everyone else’s letter. Accordingly, don’t be afraid try something a little different.
Who should the cover letter be addressed to? What if you can’t find any name to use? There are ways to determine, or guess the information you need. Spend a few minutes researching the target department. Ask personal contacts within the target company to give you the right name. Otherwise find the name of the Department Head, or Talent Acquisition leader and address the letter to them. Do not open your letter with “To Whom it May Concern”!
Good luck! Enjoy the opportunity to reach and speak to potential employers.
Debbie Matson is a Career Coach, Recruiter and Founder of CareerAmplify. She has an MBA from Cornell University and is a certified Executive Coach from Columbia University Teachers College. Her passion is empowering students moving from academics to full-time employment, and helping people at all stages of their careers find the next great job.
You must be logged in to post a comment.