A Cover letter is a necessary instrument to create a lasting impression on potential employers. While every potential hire for the available position can come up with a cookie-cutter resume, a well-crafted cover letter can help candidates stand out from the crowd and shine bright. This is especially crucial for those who are entry-level with little to no experience. Cover letters let the employer know why the candidate is a strong fit for the job and what value they bring to the table. An engaging cover letter that narrates a candidate’s experience can be much more effective than a bland CV.
Most beginners make the mistake of regurgitating facts and information from their resume onto their cover letters. Resumes are a great way to condense an employee’s skills and accomplishments. But stepping outside the usual run-of-the-mill resumes, it’s important to stand out in a crowded pool of candidates. Instead of stating facts in a bland manner, expand on all the skills and values that can be brought to the company. Elaborate and expand about past experiences – the challenges faced and the methods implemented to overcome them. Most importantly, what did one accomplish and what material difference did that make to the employer?
Hiring managers look at thousands of resumes every day. What sets an ideal candidate apart from the rest? It’s the right combination of relevant education, previous experience, and passion for the open role. Nobody wants to hire a candidate who sounds unenthusiastic about the opportunity or offer. Successful candidates manage to convey the excitement and motivation they have for the job.
This can be done by putting in a short personal experience that relates to the job or letting the employer know what initiatives you plan to bring if hired. Demonstrating a willingness to take the initiative even before being hired can put potential hires in a positive light.
Never ever forward the same cover letter to every company. It’s important to look into the work culture and nature of the role thoroughly before writing a custom cover letter for each job application. There are going to be strong parts that you need to carry over from one cover letter to another, but no employer would be thrilled to hire candidates who state the same information on their cover letters without a personal touch. Putting in details like the hiring manager’s name, integrating their company motto, the specific job title, etc. can go a long way in impressing the employer. These tidbits show the company that the candidate has done their research about the background of the company and the specific requirements for the role – a thoroughly interested candidate who is worth on-boarding. It will also help paint a clearer and more specific picture of the candidate’s qualifications for the specific job at hand.
Value, value, value. If an employer is willing to allocate a part of their budget to pay an employee, they fully expect to gain unique value from their choice – it’s as simple as that. Instead of going into extensive details about the education and the value of a college degree, it’s crucial that a candidate outlines the value, experience and unique talents they bring to the specific role in question and how they apply. While it’s great to flash that shiny diploma, employers are more interested in how a candidate can excel in the open role – by optimizing processes, ensuring smoother workflows, and bagging more results.
Finding the company’s voice is important. Things can go awry quickly if a candidate sounds overly enthusiastic or casual in a cover letter for a company that has a strictly formal style of communications. The opposite can be true for new companies which operate in a much more casual manner. Candidates can reach out to current and past employees of the organization, other hiring managers (if they can be reached), and do research on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to get an idea of who the hiring point of contact will be so that the letter can be addressed properly and find out more about what the process will be like. It’s important to read reviews online and ask previous employees what the hiring department expects – and then finalize the tonality of the cover letter. Add proper salutations and greetings – show respect by putting their name in and addressing them directly. Avoid generic salutations such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir or madam”. They read as old-fashioned and mass-produced.
A three-paragraph format is usually the most efficient way to craft a cover letter. The hiring department does not have all the time in the world to sift through pages of bulky walls of text. A lean, mean, three-paragraph letter is sufficient to grab the reader’s attention, convey the value an employee brings, and create a personal connection. The opening paragraph should serve as the hook. Knocking this section out of the park can almost guarantee success. This paragraph should pull the reader in with the potential value of the candidate. Include data specifics and numbers of revenue generated or budget saved at the previous roles. Live examples of how the candidate can expand a client base or generate more actionable leads compel with the employer to keep reading on.
The second paragraph should contain details about why the candidate is the perfect fit not just for the role, but also the company and its work culture. Study the requirements of the job role and what gaps the employer is trying to fill. Highlight these exact points from the past experience and education that can help the employer solve these problems and create value. Candidates shouldn’t be afraid to brag about their achievements or apologize for any missing experience. Instead, highlight why potential weaknesses can be resourcefully turned into valuable initiatives. Depending on the company’s unique voice, take care to not sound overly braggadocious either.
If the first two paragraphs served as the hook and the line – it’s a no brainer that the closing paragraph serves as the sinker. The first two paragraphs served to highlight the candidates’ uniqueness and the value they bring to the company – the last section should communicate to the employer why the company is the perfect fit for the candidate. The role and company work culture should be a great match for what the candidate is bringing to the table.
Closing statements should include a couple of lines about long term plans and goals with the company – and how the role can help translate those goals into reality. A formal closing with proper salutations should be added at the end.
Cover Letters are a must in today’s job market. Companies are flooded with resumes, many of which are nearly identical. Cover letters help one to highlight their skills and experience while tying them to the mission of the company. Not only that but the fact so many skip this step could yield a competitive advantage. Still need help with your IT job search? HIRECLOUT is an IT recruiting firm which takes a holistic approach to matching candidates and jobs specializing in the tech industry. Contact us to talk to a recruiter today. Looking to hire a technology professional? Go out our employer portal.