Resumes can be easy once you have them down, even to tailor. Cover letters are more complex and take a personal touch. You want to sound like the “go-getter” type, passionate and enthusiastic, but how do you covey everything you are trying to get across to hiring personnel? How much of the letter should be research on the company and how much should be personal? How much is too much and how much is too little? How personal do you want to get with them without sounding desperate? How do you make yourself sound enthusiastic about applying for the job without sounding like a “gushing teenager”? Nailing a cover letter can be difficult.
Based on the research, hiring personnel like to see a unique punch line, research on the company, enthusiasm for the job, and an application of your knowledge and skills while avoiding being too wordy, sounding too desperate, and/or being too demanding of the reader.
All of these requirements in one, easy-to-read document? Overload!
To start, take a deep breath and be yourself while you write. Remember that the cover letter is supposed to reflect who you are. Imagine you are introducing yourself to someone who has just read your resume. What would you say to them, as you shake their hand, if you only had a few moments to sell yourself? Would you start out saying something like, “I have read your job description and I think I can do what you expect of me”, OR “Let me start out by giving you a few reasons why I am the perfect fit for this position…”? Always tailor your cover letter to the company you are applying for. Remember that the reader wants to feel like you are interested in the company, as well as the position.
Next, give an example of an achievement you have made and explain how it would benefit the company. To remain confident throughout your cover letter, add an example of something you have done that you can apply to the job. Hiring personnel will be able to visualize you with their company. Research some issues the company or industry is facing and express how you could help fix them. If you are applying for an artistic position, explain some of your previous work and the mentality you had while creating it. Apply that mentality to the job.
Lastly, be professional. With the blessed resource of the Internet, you can find a direct person to address in your cover letter. Use your resources and find out exactly who would be reading your materials. Address them professionally as “Dear Ms./Mr. Smith”. When meeting a hiring team, you would not want to over-sell yourself to come across as desperate or needy, but you would not want to sell yourself short. You have to find the appropriate amount of “self-branding”. Recruitment teams do not have all the time in the world to read a lengthy, drawn-out cover letter. You might label you as “chatty” if your cover letter is too long. Keep it short and be mindful of the reader’s time. Watch your language and format. Never use difficult fonts or odd paragraph alignments. Be professional.
You should always provide a cover letter because providing one could help you more than it could hinder you. Remember that the reader only needs a glance to see if your cover letter is worth reading. Keep it sophisticated
and easy-to-read, while being enthusiastic, professional, and confident throughout. Remember to be yourself; you are the perfect candidate for the job!