Ah, the dreaded cover letter. You’ve probably tried to sit down and construct the perfect one, only for you to google “cover letter examples”, get overwhelmed, and then immediately lose all motivation.

While it would be ideal to simply let your resume speak for itself, cover letters are increasingly becoming an important part of most job applications. Prospective employers want to know who you are, why they should hire you, and what makes you stand out above all the other candidates; hence why a cover letter is often demanded.

To make sure your letter is in amazing shape, we’ve brought the best advice on writing a cover letter into one place.

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Write a Fresh Cover Letter for Each Position

Unlike your resume, it is impossible to use the same cover letter for every position you apply for. While it’s way faster and more convenient to copy and paste the cover letter you wrote for your last application, you have to ensure that each letter you send is carefully tailored to the individual company. The goal is to persuade the hiring manager that you’re truly excited about a specific position, company or brand — which means creating a custom letter for each job you apply for.

Craft a Killer Opening Line

The recruiter probably already knows the most basic information about you, so there’s no need to lead your cover letter with things like your name, current position or hometown.  Consider introducing yourself with a snappy first sentence instead; one that highlights your excitement about the company you’re applying to, your passion for the work you do, and some of your biggest accomplishments.

Go Beyond What’s Written In Your Resume

A common mistake many job seekers make is to use their cover letter to regurgitate what’s on their resume. Rather than boring the recruiter with repetitive information such as: “I was in charge of identifying and re-engaging former clients”, expand on those bullet points to paint a fuller picture of your experiences and accomplishments. Never be afraid to show off why you’d be perfect for the job and the company.

Never Talk About What the Company Can Do for You

Talking about how great a position would be for your resume (and bank account) is an easy way to get screened out. Hiring managers want to know what you are going to bring to the position and company. Try to identify the company’s pain points and emphasize the skills that make you the right person to solve them.

Don’t Apologize for Your Missing Experience

Even if you don’t meet all of the job requirements, never use lines like, “Despite my limited experience as a manager…” or “while I may not have direct experience in marketing…” It is a big mistake to draw attention to your weaknesses rather than emphasizing the transferable skills you do have.

After it’s all said and done, don’t forget to ask someone to take a look at your cover letter for an honest second opinion!

Photo Credit: GraphicStock, Shutterstock

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