Writing the perfect cover letter can be a pretty daunting task. Since you’ve successfully graduated college, chances are you already know to spell check and present your qualifications. However, there are essential parts of a cover letter that many people overlook. Keep in mind the following tips next time you send another application into the abyss!
1. Focus on why they want you
Every person applying wants or needs this job just as much as you do. The company isn’t interested in who makes a better case for wanting or needing the job the most; you need to make a case for why they want you. Highlight aspects of your experience that make you a candidate that they just can’t overlook, rather than pleading for an interview.
2. Connect the dots
A cover letter is a means for you to present the best possible version of yourself – more importantly, the best possible version that will succeed in this position. When the hiring manager reads the letter, they shouldn’t have to investigate your experience to see how it relates to the position you’re actually applying for. Save them the work and clearly spell it out for them.
3. Explain your involvements.
Were you a member of Greek life? The sociology club? The campus newspaper? If you lack significant professional experience, take advantage of these experiences! Don’t just throw these on your resume as bullet points – explain your efforts. You went above and beyond as a student, so make sure to tell them what you learned and how it sets you apart. (Note for Greek life members: this is especially important since position names and titles are rarely self-explanatory and you’ve got a stigma to fight off!)
4. Once you’ve finished, walk away…
…then come back to it and review it later, OR have someone proofread it for you. You’d be amazed by how many people misspell company names (yikes!) or misuse common punctuation. You want to sound as professional as possible, and if you misspell the hiring manager’s last name in the salutation, it’s unlikely they’ll read any further.
Nothing is worse than sending off a cover letter only to cringe at mistakes when you review it afterwards. Take it seriously, make sure it works with your resume, and work these tips in as much as possible. Happy hunting!