If you’re on the hunt for a job, you’ve probably noticed things have changed in the last few years. Objective statements are out, and social media profiles are in. References are no longer available upon request, and most recruiters prefer a simple, legible resume to something that looks like it walked out of art class.
Cover letters are another piece of the application puzzle, and expectations about them have changed too. In fact, there’s a debate about whether or not job seekers should include a cover letter these days.
Most recruiters still want to see a cover letter with an application, and job seekers should use the opportunity to talk themselves up. Employ these tips to make your cover letter stand above the rest.
1. Tell a Story
The best cover letters grab the reader immediately. The first paragraph should make them want to read on to the end.
What better way to do this than to tell a personal story? Use discretion, of course. Pick one that demonstrates how the company’s values resonate with you.
One important thing your cover letter can do is tell the recruiter why you want to work for this particular company. Your resume can’t offer this insight.
2. Add Some Social Proof
Did you know that people are more likely to buy on the basis of reviews from others they trust? It’s one of the reasons customer reviews have become an integral part of any company’s website.
This is known as “social proof,” and you can add some to your cover letter to make it stand out. Ask a manager or employer for a quick quote about why you stand out as a candidate. Think of it as a Yelp review for your stellar job skills.
An easy way to get a couple of quotes is to ask the people who are acting as your references. If they’re willing to give a reference, chances are they’ll be happy to give a quote too.
3. Ask Not What the Company Can Do for You
A common misstep job applicants make in their cover letter is talking about why the job is a great opportunity for them.
They fail to tell the hiring manager what they could be getting by hiring this job applicant over anyone else in the field.
Instead of talking about what this job offers you, spend some time discussing what your skills and talent offer the employer. What do you bring to this job that makes you a better choice than anyone else? If you can bring a unique mix of skills to the job, an employer’s more likely to be intrigued by you than by someone who feels the job is a great stepping stone in their career.
4. Keep It Short
Although much has been made about shrinking attention spans in the age of social media, there was never much time to impress the hiring manager reading your cover letter. That’s why a dazzling first paragraph is a must.
It’s also why you should keep your cover letter brief. Avoid repeating your resume verbatim, and try to steer clear of sentences that don’t add value. While a single paragraph is probably too short, a lengthy cover letter is likely to lose the reader.
Finding the right balance can be difficult. Make sure everything you include has value and you’ll be well on your way.
5. Address the Letter to a Person
This is a simple step, but it has profound effects. If at all possible, address your cover letter to an individual. Sometimes, you’ll be able to do this easily, as the individual is mentioned in the job posting. In other cases, you may need to do some digging.
If you’re ready to start applying for jobs, get in touch with Liberty Staffing today! We’ll get your cover letter in front of more employers.