Now more than ever, it is of the utmost importance to stand out when applying for a job. A cover letter can be used as a technique to entice the reader and potential employer to review your resume. It should include specific abilities you possess and exhibit how you would use them to enhance the productivity of the team. Everyone who sends out a resume needs to send out a cover letter! Even if the cover letter was never discussed or wasn't mentioned in an advertisement, it's expected that you will write one. Take the time to draft a tailored cover letter that helps you stand out amongst the many applicants you are competing against in the fierce and over-saturated job market, and don’t forget these essentials:
Your full contact information - It is very important that the reader is able to reach you in the case that the cover letter is separated from your resume. Make sure your contact information is clear and easy to find!
The hiring source's contact information - Your submission should include: (Date), (Name of Hiring Manager), (Title), (Company Name), (Street Address), (City, State Zip Code), RE: (Job Title) and Dear (Mr./Mrs. Last Name). If the hiring source's contact information is not available it is always good to use "Dear Company Representative or Hiring Manager." "Dear Sir or Madam" and "To Whom it May Concern" are very outdated and are far too impersonal.
Keywords - Use descriptive noun phrases from skills listed in the position. Inserting these terms relative to the position signifies that you have read the opening carefully and that you truly are a fit for their needs. It is key to tailor your cover letter to the position and company. Minimize redundancy in your terminology and any concentration on the company. The hiring source is aware of what the company has to offer, take the opportunity to express how you are able to produce as an employee and why.
Your accomplishments - Highlighting your accomplishments from previous experience, positions or education is extremely important. Usually the most prominent of your accomplishments should be made to stand out for emphasis. This allows the pre-screener to make a quantifiable comparison from your previous experiences as they relate to the position they have open. If the hiring source can visualize how you have contributed to other jobs, they will draw a stronger conclusion of how you can aid the success of their company.
The follow-up - Invite the reader to contact you for an interview or inform them that you will be contacting them and when. Always be considerate of Recruiters' time, they have many openings to fill in a day and one page is more than enough to quickly but accurately accentuate your abilities.
Jennifer Hood is an Aristotle Circle expert and Resume Writer, Interview Coach and Executive Recruiter.