- Don’t just repeat information from your résumé in your cover letter — give the reader a reason to read the cover letter. Focus on the reasons why you’re a fit for this specific position.
- Address the cover letter to a specific person, not “To Whom It May Concern.” Ten or fifteen years ago it was very difficult to find a hiring manager’s name. Today, with Google, LinkedIn, and company websites, you should be able to secure the specific individual’s name and job title with a quick search (and maybe one follow-up phone call).
- Make sure the cover letter is “employer-focused,” not “you-focused.” It’s not about what you want — it’s about how you can add value to the prospective employer.
- Show — don’t tell! Just like on the résumé, don’t use clichés to describe yourself and your work — let your accomplishments do the talking. Instead of saying “results-oriented,” showcase the results you’ve achieved! Use specific dollar amounts, percentages, and other numbers to quantify your accomplishments.
- The cover letter is an opportunity to bring attention to older experience on your résumé that is relevant for the job you’re seeking, but that may not be easily found.
- You can also use the cover letter to highlight work experience that would substitute for education requested in a job posting — or highlight training and classes that have prepared you for the work being done.
- Don’t include your photo on your cover letter. It doesn’t belong on your résumé either. But you absolutely need a great photo on your LinkedIn profile!
- Stand out! Don’t just apply online for a position. Your cover letter and résumé may never make it out of the ATS software. If you apply online, follow-up with a hard copy of the résumé and cover letter — either mailed or dropped off to the company — or email an e-note and résumé to the hiring manager.
If you’re located in the U.S. or Canada, click here to schedule your free strategy session today!