Wondering how to write a cover letter? We’ve got you covered!
You should send a cover letter every chance you get – even when one is not specifically requested. Any time a job posting asks for a cover letter, gives you the option of sending one or even just asks you to send a resume, you should include a cover letter.
The top 5 cover letter must dos:
1) Write a different cover letter for each job. You already tailored your resume to reflect the job description (you did tailor your resume to reflect the job description, right?) so don’t stop now. Each cover letter should be unique.
2) Don’t repeat information from your resume. Say something new and relevant to this specific job. Let them know you’ve done your homework about the company and the job.
3) Address it specifically to the hiring manager. If the job description doesn’t include the name of who’s hiring, call the location and ask for it. If calling and perhaps snooping online fail to turn up a name, at least think of something that relates back to the company (when I applied here, I addressed my cover letter to “The Snagger in charge of hiring new Snaggers”). Names are personal and show that you aren’t churning out just another cover letter.
4) Use proper formatting. Your name and contact info, the employer name and contact info, the date, salutation, letter itself, then sign off. No more than one page.
5) Always check your spelling. Twice. And then, if you can, have a friend or family member check it, too. Spelling errors are a surefire way to not get hired.
Sure they take time, and they can be a pain, and sometimes (we suspect) they don’t get read quite as closely as we’d like, but sending cover letters are just one more way to make a good impression. If you really want to get hired for the job (and if you don’t, why waste your time applying?), then take the time to make sure you send a cover letter each time and that every time you do these five things. Good luck!