Stuck on writing your resume’s cover letter? Wondering how to format a cover letter to make it pop? Here are my top 4 best tips on writing a cover letter here.
How important is a good cover letter? In a word…Very!
Your cover letter is usually the first look an employer has of your writing style. It immediately answers several questions: Are you articulate? Can you put a coherent sentence together? Can you spell; how’s your grammar? This is huge! So never underestimate the importance of a cover letter.
These days, a cover letter is not sent through the mail with your resume. It’s the email you send a prospective employer with your resume attached. The most important “goal” for your cover letter is to pique the reader’s interest enough to open your resume. That’s all you want the cover letter to do for you…but that’s a lot.
Here are some points to keep in mind to write an effective, “winning” cover letter:
- Keep it short – no more than two short paragraphs of 2-3 sentences each. You want the reader to focus on the detail in your attached resume.
- Don’t repeat what’s in your resume. This will make the email too long, it will be redundant, and may mean that your resume will not be read.
- Highlight only the 1-2 most relevant points to the employer. Look at the job description. What’s mentioned first in qualifications? If you’ve got that, lead with it – and write the letter so the employer wants to learn more about you.
- No misspellings, grammar errors or name misspellings. This should be a no-brainer, but so often cover letters have typos – or worse, the candidate misspells someone’s name. If you do this, your letter and resume will end up in the waste basket. Think about it: there are few things more insulting than having someone misspell your name. And if you have typos or poor grammar, the reader is understandably going to wonder what kind of employee you’d be.
So take time to write a strong, targeted cover letter. Remember, it often takes longer to write less. You have to think about what you want to say: What’s most important? What is the employer’s biggest concern? How can I explain in a few sentences that I have the experience to help her – and that it’s worth her time to open my resume. That’s what you want! Good luck. Contact me with questions.