We all know that hiring managers will only view your resume for a few seconds.  They will view your cover letter even more briefly if it is boring.  Your cover letter is a great opportunity to show off creativity, originality, and personality.  Here are some tips to make sure a hiring manager reads yours:

  1. Create a Custom Cover Letter for each Application.  The worst thing you can do is send out a generic cover letter to every job you apply for.  If possible, use the hiring manager’s name and talk about the history of the company or field you are hoping to get into.  You’ll want to show personality, not just repeat the information on your resume.   Never use the phrase, “My name is (blank), and I am applying for the position as (blank).”  The reader already knows both of these things and every other applicant will start their cover letter the same way.  You can create a short story that highlights your skills and what you would bring to the company.  Anything that shows a hiring manager who you are will be more useful than simply reiterating your qualifications.  Hiring managers have to read tons of boring cover letters, so any creativity will make you stand out.
  2. Be Brief.  All cover letters need to be less than a page, no exceptions.  The ability to communicate quickly and effectively is essential in today’s business world; a brief cover letter demonstrates your ability to do so.  You won’t want to ramble on and bore the hiring manager, only say what’s important and say it in the most interesting way possible.  One interesting, effective way to do this is to make a table with two columns: the left side with desired qualifications taken directly from the job description, and the right side describing how you meet those qualifications.  This way you cover all the ways you’re perfect for the job and do so in a small space.  Any way you decide to do this, it must be brief or else the hiring manager won’t spend time reading it.
  3. End Strong.  The end is important.  You’ll want to end strong to keep your name in the hiring manager’s mind.  This is where you spend just a brief moment discussing how your experience and worldview will help you at the job.  This can be done in a line or two, and will actually have a stronger punch if you can fit your benefits into one or two sentences.  Also, instead of closing with “I hope to hear from you soon…” you can close with a call to action (CTA).  Tell them you will call them in a couple of weeks to see what they thought of your qualifications.  Don’t leave it up to them to call you, make sure that you call them.  This ensures further communication with the company.

Remember, you only get a very brief amount of time to impress a hiring manager.  If your cover letter is like everyone else’s, it will bore the reader.  A cover letter is an opportunity to show originality, creativity, and personality.  A uniquely formatted cover letter will make you stand out from the crowd.

Topics: CareersRecruitingInterview