How To Master The Art Of The Cover Letter

Let’s face it, most people dread writing a cover letter. While a great deal of companies have made the cover letter optional, knowing how to nail your cover letter is still an important skill.

In Business Insider, HR professional Padmaja Ganeshan-Singh mentions how cover letters show that a person is “willing to invest the time and energy to help the company understand [his or her] credentials better.” Including a cover letter with your application could set you apart from a large pool of applicants.

Here are four cover letter writing tips to catch the attention of a hiring manager :

1. Don’t reiterate your resume.

The cover letter is not a summary of your resume -- it’s a personalized message that should make your potential employer want to read your application. Yes, keep it professional, but also give your potential employer a grasp on who you are and whether or not you could fit into their work environment.

Tech companies are known to have non-traditional offices -ping pong, yoga, napping areas and the like. It’s important to exhibit professionalism and showcase your ability to take on a new job, but your cover letter can also give insight on whether someone will want you on their foosball team or at the company picnic.

2. Show that you’ve done your research.

Don’t fall victim to using the same cover letter for every application. Communications specialist at Aesthetic Cogency Lauren Nelsonsaid that a cover letter can reveal one’s work ethic and attention to detail more than a resume. A generic, recycled cover letter isn’t going to do that.

In addition to giving your application personality, cover letters can demonstrate the passion you have for the company.

Use direct keywords from the job description. You want to work at Google and they are “looking for quick-witted, entrepreneurial and intellectually curious people to join the team?” Note that you’re intellectually curious in your introduction.

Slide in a recent company accomplishment. “It was great to see that 123 company has expanded to 4 new locations - I want to be part of a company that grows.”

Only include information pertinent to the job. Don’t include how your middle school volleyball team made it to the finals to demonstrate your leadership.

3. Be specific and quick.

Always, always keep it limited to one page. Resume Edge states that 83% of their survey respondents reported that they spent one minute or less reading an applicant’s cover letter. Make sure that your cover letter can impress in that minute.

4. Finish strong.

Don’t be shy in the last paragraph -- you’ve made it to the end! Instead of using words like “hope,” say you’re looking forward to hearing back from the company. There’s a vast amount of ways to end a cover letter, but finish strong and be assertive.