Your cover letter gives you an opportunity to showcase your unique qualifications for the job position you are applying for. This can be an intimidating challenge, because you are essentially selling your personality, qualifications, and skills to the employer. To make sure your cover letter packs a punch, try one of the following strategies.
Include Bullet Points
Hiring managers spend very little time reading cover letters, usually under a minute per applicant. To ease the strain of paragraph after paragraph of text, why not utilize a bulleted list to switch things up a bit? You can include full sentences or highlights from your experience. Make sure that whatever you include meets a desire stated in the job listing – otherwise, they may skip over your application.
Did you have a really great annual report from an upper-level exec? Did you execute a project in record time? Did you improve the bottom line, reduce costs, and increase efficiency? Highlight some of your most impressive results in the cover letter. You can tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end in a cover letter – something you cannot on a resume. However, be careful that you aren’t simply repeating what is on the resume by adding more details.
Use a Table
Be careful with this bolder strategy – it can easily backfire if you aren’t cautious. If you are confident that you are a match to a specific position, consider using a table to illustrate your point. In one column, title it “Your position requires…” and in the other, say “I offer…” Next, fill in the blanks. This strategy works best if you meet or exceed all of the major requirements of the position, but can backfire if you don’t. For example, if the position says 5 years of experience, and you only have 2, you don’t want to draw attention to that fact!
A cover letter should leave the employer wanting to call you immediately to schedule an interview. Using one of these three tactics may be the way to ensure your cover letter is a slam dunk!