It is not always easy to write a cover letter. This can be even truer when you are applying for a position that you have always wanted but have never been able to land. You may be nervous and not know exactly what to convey in the cover letter that gets the attention of the company’s representative. Another factor is these people do not have a great deal of time to read through every single resume and they only skim the cover letters to make two piles. These two piles are ‘read further’ and ‘disregard’ piles. So how do you write a cover letter that gets you the job you have always dreamed about?
• Research the Company –
You want to let them know in the cover letter how well you fit into to their company. You cannot do this if you know nothing about what they offer or what they stand for. It is easy to mess up your chance of being in the read further pile if the company is conservative and your cover letter says you have drive with a rock and roll attitude. These are obviously two completely different viewpoints. Find out what you need to convey to the company in order to be considered for the position.
• List Your School Highlights –
While you do not need to list the school you attended, you do want to note if you were on the deans list or any other acclimations or awards that are relevant. If you did post graduate work in your field of study, you should also mention that on your cover letter as well. Be brief but include everything that catches the attention of the recruiter’s eye. You can go into more detail and list the schools that were attended in your resume.
• How You Found the Job Opening –
You need to let the recruiter know how you found out about the job opening. If you were referred by a friend, they may be awarded a bonus for recruiting you. This can also open some doors as many people find jobs by not what they know but by who they know. This is well documented and very true. If you were referred by a recruiting company, list this as well. If you found the job by simply searching online for work and saw their listing make sure to include a link to the website that you found it on.
The main thing to remember is that this is your first, one and only chance to make a good impression on a person who is probably overwhelmed with resumes. They are not taking too much time reading each cover letter so use keywords that attract their attention. Find these keywords in the posting for the job or by searching the requirement for the job you are applying for. Keep the cover letter as brief as possible and the recruiter has a better chance of reading the entire letter without simply skimming it.