Think no one reads a cover letter? Wrong. The small things really do make a difference. Read The Temp Connection’s Cover Letter tips and tricks below:
1. Send a customized cover letter for each application you submit.
The letter can be similar to other jobs you have applied to, but you want to change the company name and job title in each cover letter. You also want to show that you have done some research on the company and why you would make a great fit. Complete the statement “I like your company because….”. Compliment the organization on what they have done right and what you admire about them. This shows you’ve done your research and that you’re already invested.
2. Make sure you connect the skills and experiences… not necessarily your education.
Try matching your skills to the qualifications listed in the job description. Make it easy for them by highlighting exactly what they are looking for. New grads, especially, often make the mistake of over-focusing on their educational backgrounds. At the end of the day, what hiring managers care about most is your work experience and what you can walk through the door and deliver on day one.
3. Don’t apologize for your missing experience.
When you don’t meet all of the job requirements, it’s tempting to use lines like, “Despite my limited experience as a manager…” or “While I may not have direct experience in advertising…” But why apologize? Instead of drawing attention to your weaknesses, emphasize the strengths and transferable skills you do have.
Here’s what that might look like: “I’m excited to translate my experience in [what you’ve done in the past] to a position that’s more [what you’re hoping to do next].”
Don’t make it terribly long and just repeat what you have on your resume. Less is more! Get right to the point. You only need three to four paragraphs with three to four sentences each. Discuss your soft skills and strengths, and discuss what makes you passionate about your career and this particular position.
5. Keep it conversational and show your personality off.
We can’t tell you how many cover letters we’ve seen from people who are “absolutely thrilled for the opportunity” or “very excitedly applying!” Yes, you want to show personality, creativity, and excitement. But downplay the adverbs a bit, and just write like a normal person. This is the opportunity to slightly brag about yourself and mention achievements that didn’t make it into your resume!
We shouldn’t have to tell you to run your cover letter through spell-check (you should!), but remember that having your computer scan for typos isn’t the same as editing. Set your letter aside for a day or even a few hours, and then read through it again with fresh eyes—you’ll probably notice some changes you want to make. Keep an eye out for small mistakes that spell-check can’t catch, such as “manger” in place of “manager.”
Tip: Have a friend take a look at your cover letter. Ask him or her two questions: Does this sell me as the best person for the job? and Does it get you excited? If the answer to either is “no,” or even if you receive a little hesitation, go back for another rewrite. Remember, one spelling or grammar mistake can be all it takes to turn off the hiring manager—especially if writing skills are an important part of the role you’re applying for.
Elliana Vaughn joined The Temp Connection team in February 2017. She currently serves The Temp Connection as a Recruiter and Sales & Marketing Coordinator. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.