I remember the first time I wrote a cover letter for a job.
It went something like this: "I'd really like to work for you. I'm sending you my resume."
In my defense, I was pretty young and inexperienced. But, it still was a lousy cover letter and I cringe when I think about it.
Please don't do what I did.
Writing a cover letter is important. It needs to spark the interest of the employer and show a little of your personality and why you're drawn to the job or the industry. It needs to reveal why you're such a great fit for the job and how you can help the employer more than any other job applicant.
That's a tall order, I know. But with a few tips, you'll soon be on your way to writing a cover letter that will help you get your foot in the door.
- Don't be repetitive. A cover letter is not supposed to just restate what's on your resume. It's really more about selling yourself -- your passion for teaching, or how you knew you were a born salesperson after your first lemonade stand when you were 5-years-old.
- You make a difference. Think about how you helped your former employers be successful. Did you lead a team that doubled new orders in one year? Did you volunteer to lead a community outreach program that sparked brand loyalty? Did you pull an all-nighter as a support staff person so that a project could meet it's deadline?
- Customize. You should always customize your resume for a job opening and the same is true for your cover letter. Do your research so you can mention the CEO's recent comments of the company or a cause the organization is supporting in the community.
Finally, make sure you proof the cover letter as carefully as your resume. A cover letter filled with mistakes -- no matter how engaging -- could get you disqualified for consideration.