As the first step in the hiring process, the cover letter is the most critical. Without a successful cover letter, you might not even get your resume on the right person's desk—but how do you manage to get a busy hiring manager to do more than just skim your cover letter?
Here are some key tips for compelling recruiters to actually read your cover letter and decide to move forward with your application.
1. Address the hiring manager by name.
If this information isn't provided on the job listing, do some homework to find out who the hiring manager for the company is, whether that means scouring LinkedIn or calling the receptionist.
2. Explain why you're interested in the company.
One of the worst job hunting mistakes you can make is to send out one generic cover letter to all the companies you apply to. If you're doing that, stop. If you want HR to be compelled to read your cover letter, you should demonstrate a genuine interest in the company by communicating that you understand their values, culture, and cause. Be as specific as possible about your reasons for choosing to apply to this particular company. Protip: Write a single cover letter with blanks that you can easily customize. We can show you how to do this.
3. Tell them why you're the perfect person for the job.
Learn as much as you can about the position by examining the listing and doing some of your own research. Try to identify the major criteria for the position, and use your cover letter to address how exactly you'll deliver these qualities. If you need help spinning your experience to match the job description, we can help.
4. Make sure your letter's completely free of errors.
This is non-negotiable. Nothing gets a cover letter tossed onto the reject pile faster than typos. Be sure to proofread your cover letter thoroughly. Never send it off without having someone else at least check it for errors. Ideally, you'd boost your chances of landing a great job by working with a professional resume and cover letter writer. Working with someone who supports candidates day in and day out will separate you from the thousands of other applicants. And the best part is that working with a professional is cheaper than you think—especially if it leads to you getting a job months sooner.