You’ve got your résumé in order and are about to apply for the job—but what about the cover letter? If you’re staring at a blank page, it can be daunting. But learning how to craft an effective cover letter can help you capture the recruiter’s attention. In fact, in a survey by ResumeLab, 83% of recruiters agree that, although not required, including a cover letter sets you apart from other candidates. If you don’t have all the job requirements, it’s the perfect place to explain why you have the skills and experience to succeed. A cover letter also gives you a chance to describe your reasons for wanting to join the company or change careers. You can even use that opportunity to address any employment gaps.
So, the next question is, how do you get started? These five powerful tips will teach you how to write a cover letter that will land you the interview.
1. Demonstrate your enthusiasm in your cover letter
If you are applying for a role, you should be excited about it. And the cover letter is the perfect place to show your potential employer that you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with them. Describe how you’ve been researching the company and can’t wait to be a part of such an exceptional team.
Example: “For years I’ve been following Company XYZ’s progress and even attended your annual conference last year. When I finally saw that you decided to hire a director of marketing I was thrilled. I know that my 10 years driving successful marketing projects will make me a great fit for the position.”
2. Mention a mutual connection
Internal referrals give you an edge over the competition. If a current employee referred you or you know someone at the company, mention it in your cover letter. It will immediately attract the attention of the recruiter and make you more credible.
Example: “I was excited to learn about this position from my former co-worker, John Smith. John and I worked closely together at Company ABC and have stayed in touch ever since. He referred me for the role because he knows my ability to manage tight deadlines and adapt to challenging environments make me a great fit for your team.”
3. Incorporate a story in your cover letter
Recruiters read a lot of cover letters, and it can get, well, quite boring. So don’t be afraid to inject a little storytelling and personality into your cover letter. Of course, use your best judgment. As long as it’s appropriate for the company, sharing a compelling anecdote can help attract and maintain the recruiter’s attention. It’s also another way to highlight how you would be an asset to the company.
Example: “That morning, my manager called me into his office and asked for a revised presentation by the next day. I worked all night but was able to incorporate the new data he provided. As a result, we landed a new client which translated into an additional $1.2M in revenue that year.”
4. Highlight an achievement
Leading with an impressive accomplishment in your opening paragraph is powerful and memorable. Be sure to choose a quantifiable achievement directly related to the role you are applying for. The goal is to demonstrate to your future employer that you have what it takes to add value from day one.
Example: “As the market research analyst at Company XYZ I utilized a software I developed to implement new scripts that increased performance by 28%. I’m excited to bring that kind of expertise to the senior analyst position at Company ABC.”
5. Show you’ve done your research
Another way to display genuine interest in the company and impress the hiring manager is to prove you’ve done your homework. For example, if the company you are applying to was in the news recently, this is an excellent place to mention it. In addition, it will demonstrate that you admire the organization and are keeping up with current events.
Example: “When I read the recent Wall Street Journal article highlighting your new product launch, I was impressed with your vision. I knew then that I had to be a part of a such a forward-looking organization that has the potential to revolutionize the renewable energy industry.”
Learning how to write a winning cover letter allows you to engage recruiters while expanding on the information in your resume. You’ll turn what could be a dull document into a captivating story that showcases your best assets. According to recruiters, most candidates don’t send cover letters as part of their job search. By being someone who does, you’ll show employers that you are qualified and willing to go the extra mile.