Five Tips for a Great Cover Letter

A cover letter can make or break your career. It’s one of the first things potential employers see about you. Between your resume and your cover letter, a hiring manager only spends a few seconds getting to know you. They look at those two pieces of paper, they make a quick decision: do they like you for their company or not? Your cover letter can make all the difference. Here are five tips for a great cover letter.

Keep it short

A long cover letter won’t win you any points. Hiring managers don’t have time to sit down and read the epic novel of your career, as fascinating as it is. Aim for 250 words, around a half page. The only information you really need to include is the job you’re applying for, what makes you qualified to do it, and what else you can do for the company. Keep most of the details in your resume, don’t be redundant.

Make it friendly

Be wary of your word choice and sentence structure. Just tell it like it is. Instead of using monstrous words that many hiring managers will have to look up, use simple, unambiguous words that make you seem sincere, friendly, and approachable. Do the same for each sentence you write—long run-on sentences that stretch on and on lose the focus of the reader and they’ll end up tossing your application aside.

Be real and casual

Be authentic. Give reasons why you’re interested in the company so you seem more sincere and not just telling them what they want to hear. Drop in a line or two that proves you’ve researched the company and seriously considered the role—perhaps mention the company’s mission and how you can support it. Show how your skills and experiences fit well into their organization.  

Show off

Don’t put yourself down. This is your chance to prove your worth. You are the strongest, most qualified candidate for this position, so build your case. Mention your top accomplishments and include numbers and statistics to quantify how successful you’ve been. 

But be modest

Okay, but don’t be obnoxiously arrogant. As you brag about yourself in your cover letter and highlight your accomplishments, emphasize how you helped the company or worked as part of a team. If you focus on yourself as an individual, you’ll seem like a narcissist who’s obsessed by their personal successes. Mention how great it’s been to collaborate with your coworkers and to learn from your inspiring managers.

For more help drafting the perfect cover letter that sets you apart from the competition, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com.

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh