What Makes a Great Cover Letter
June 5, 2023
In a world where first impressions often occur digitally, your cover letter is more than just a formality—it's the hook that will either reel in your potential employer or let them off the line. Imagine it as the movie trailer to your career, providing a tantalizing glimpse of the main feature: You.
Sounds important, doesn’t it? That's because it is. The art of crafting a compelling cover letter can be the difference between your application landing on the 'shortlist' or the 'discard' pile. So, buckle up, future game-changers and leaders, as we explore the ingredients of a truly great cover letter that will make recruiters sit up and take notice.
Tailor the letter to the job (Relevance)
The first element that makes a great cover letter is relevance. Your cover letter should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for. This means highlighting the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job description. Avoid generic statements and instead provide specific examples of how your skills match the requirements of the job. This shows the hiring manager that you have taken the time to research the position and that you are genuinely interested in the job.
When you tailor your cover letter to the job, you're making it easier for the hiring manager to see that you're a good fit for the position. You should read the job description carefully and make a list of the skills and experiences that the company is looking for. Then, you should match those skills and experiences with your own and highlight them in your cover letter.
It's important to remember that you should only include skills and experiences that are relevant to the job. You don't need to include everything that you've ever done. Instead, focus on the skills and experiences that are most important for the job.
Do your research on the company (Personalization)
Another crucial element of a great cover letter is personalization. Your cover letter should not be a generic template that you send to every company. Instead, it should be personalized to the company and the hiring manager. Start by addressing the hiring manager by name and use the company's name throughout the letter. Show that you have done your research on the company and explain why you want to work there. This shows the hiring manager that you have a genuine interest in the company and are not just applying to any job.
When you personalize your cover letter, you're showing the hiring manager that you're not just sending out a generic cover letter to every company. You're taking the time to research the company and the position, and you're tailoring your cover letter to show why you're a good fit for that specific job.
To personalize your cover letter, you should start by researching the company. You should look at their website, read about their mission and values, and look at their products or services. Hiring managers like to know that candidates have researched the company before starting the interview process. This includes knowing about the company’s products/services, mission and recent news.
You should also research the hiring manager if possible. Look them up on LinkedIn or the company's website to see if you can find any information about them.
Once you've done your research, you should use that information to personalize your cover letter. Start by addressing the hiring manager by name and mention something that you learned about the company in your opening paragraph. This will show the hiring manager that you've done your research and that you're genuinely interested in the company.
Check for grammar and formatting (Professionalism)
Lastly, a great cover letter must be professional. This means using proper grammar and spelling, formatting the letter appropriately, and keeping the tone professional.
When you write a professional cover letter, you're showing the hiring manager that you're someone who can represent the company well. You're also showing that you take the job seriously and that you're willing to put in the effort to do your best.
To write a professional cover letter, you should start by using proper grammar and spelling. Make sure that your sentences are complete and that you're using the right punctuation. You should also format your cover letter appropriately. Use a standard font and size, and make sure that your margins are set correctly.
It's also important to keep the tone professional. Avoid using slang or overly casual language. Instead, use a professional tone throughout the letter. You should also proofread your cover letter before sending it. This will help you catch any errors or typos that you might have missed.
How AI streamlines research and writing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help with both research and writing. Instead of manually finding news articles about a company, a job seekers can leverage AI to find recent news and summarize it in a digestible format.
Getting writing help from an AI model can help level the playing field for non-native English speakers applying for jobs. Using AI technology can minimize the chance of writing a cover letter with poor grammar and punctuation. A recent MIT study titled "Algorithmic Writing Assistance on Jobseekers' Resumes Increases Hires" found that job seekers who had algorithmic assistance in writing their resume received 7.8% more job offers than those with no help. This same principle applies to writing cover letters.
In summary, a great cover letter is relevant, personalized, well-researched and professional. By following these key elements, you can make sure your cover letter stands out from the rest and increase your chances of getting an interview. Remember to take the time to tailor your cover letter to the specific job and company, and always proofread it before sending it. With a great cover letter, you can make a strong first impression and land the job of your dreams.
If you need help researching companies and writing personalized cover letters using AI, try CoverDoc to get a well-researched, professional first draft in minutes.