Use Cover Letters to Grab Attention
No matter the industry or field, job hunting usually requires candidates, both newly minted graduates and other job seekers, to provide a synopsis of their educational and professional backgrounds on paper. Let’s focus on the cover letter — the written embodiment of your strengths, passions and experiences. Think of yourself as the product and the résumé and cover letter as marketing tools.
How do you compose a letter that grabs an employer’s attention and enhances your chances of landing an interview or catching the eye of a headhunter?
Tips and Tricks from the Career Development Center to Help Enhance Your Cover Letter and Successfully Market Yourself
- Why Cover Letters?
The cover letter is more than just a summary of your résumé. It is an opportunity to add depth and personality to your application. Some employers may also view the cover letter as a writing sample if written communication is a qualification for the job. The cover letter is also a great way to name-drop if you have been referred by someone in the field or the company.
- Addressing the Letter
Whenever possible, it is best to address the letter to a specific person. Tools like LinkedIn and CareerShift can help you find the appropriate person. If the information is unavailable, address the letter with “Dear Selection Committee” or “Dear Hiring Committee.” Cover letters are usually no more than one page consisting of three to four short paragraphs.
- Making a Match
When constructing your cover letter, use the job description to pull key words. Match your skill sets and experiences with the specific requirements mentioned in the job description. Show the employer how you will be an asset to their company or organization and be specific about your strengths.
- Closing the Letter
Thank the employer for their time and consideration. Indicate that you will follow up and then follow through.
A résumé and a cover letter are just the starting points on your career journey. Consistency in your search and in the format of your documents is key to marketing yourself in a positive manner. Maintain contact with an employer and stay resilient throughout the job hunt!