March 16, 2023
A lot of job seekers think that because of email, social media, etc., the days of the cover letter have come and gone. They would be wrong. While there are fewer instances where a job hunter needs to send a hard copy of their cover letter and resume through the mail in response to an opportunity, a well-written cover letter still plays an important part in getting your foot in the door.
So here are a few reasons why you should be thinking about your cover letter every time you respond to a job opening:
Cover Letter “Optional” Really Means Cover Letter Required
Don’t let the words “cover letter optional” fool you when responding to an opportunity. Any applicant who takes the time to write and submit one –especially a thoughtful, well-written, spell-checked letter – will make a good impression.
Think of being in an elevator with the hiring manager – and you have less than 30 seconds to make your elevator pitch. The letter’s a great way to briefly explain why you’re a great fit for the job and that you’re serious about the opportunity. It’s your chance to sell yourself with information and statistics beyond what’s listed on your resume.
How to Write a Great Cover Letter
Your letter should be strategically tailored to present the accomplishments, skills and experiences based on the job requirements. Initially, it’s the best tool you have to draw the hiring manager’s attention to your qualifications why highlighting the unique strengths that make you worthy of consideration.
How would you contribute in a positive way? How have you made a difference in other settings? Taking the time to nail the cover letter can really pay off.
Cover letters should be around 250 – 350 words and not more than one page long. They should also be written in a formal and professional way, i.e. “Mr.” or “Mrs.”. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, it’s okay to use “Dear Hiring Manager”.
From there it’s all about being to-the-point, while providing a two or three reasons why you’re right for the job. In general, the basic structure of your cover should include:
- Introduction – who you are and why you’re writing
- What you have to offer – draw connections between the job requirements and your skills
- Proof –provide a couple of achievements that you’re most proud of that correlate with the job opportunity
- Close – recap what you can do, thank them for their time, and close with a call-to-action such as “I can be reached at…” or “I look forward to hearing from you in the coming days…”.
Remember, the cover letter is a strategic intro into why you’re right for the job. So take it seriously, keep it brief, and if it’s well done, it’ll help you land that interview. And while a well-constructed cover letter increases your chances of garnering an interview, a letter with errors, misspellings or irregular formatting will do the opposite. Be sure to proofread before you send it!
Inter-Connect is a free permanent, temporary and temp-to-hire placement service agency that partners with companies throughout the Illinois, Missouri and Iowa Tri-State region. As staffing experts, we partner with our job candidates to connect them with the right opportunities to meet their career goals. To learn more, contact us today.