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How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Your cover letter is your calling card and the very first impression you make when introducing yourself to a recruiter. Unfortunately, some candidates skip this important step during their job search – or worse – write a generic letter and press “send” without giving it a second thought.

This article outlines five strategies for writing a cover letter that will get the attention of a recruiter or HR professional:

1) Brief is Better
Your cover letter should capture the recruiter’s attention immediately. Resist the temptation to regurgitate or repeat the contents of your resume. Remember that recruiters don’t have time to read a mini-novel. That’s why it’s important to be concise and direct when composing your cover letter. Your letter should include a brief introduction, a paragraph explaining why you’re the best candidate, and a memorable closing.

2) Customize Your Cover Letter
Always tailor your cover letter to the job to which you’re applying. If you are currently a social media manager, but you’re applying for a marketing manager role, don’t use your social media cover letter to attract the attention of a recruiter. You’ll want to completely rewrite your cover letter and focus on your marketing skills and accomplishments instead of using a generic template.  Review the job posting and customize your cover letter by highlighting the skills and job experience you bring to the table. Need some new ideas for cover letters? These examplescan help you write an effective and impactful cover letter.

3) Keywords Are Important
Using keywords in your cover letter is crucial. Keywords work in several ways. First, the keywords you include in your resume and cover letter will be used to match your application with the skills listed in the job advertisement. This “keyword matching” process is usually done by an applicant tracking system, or ATS. An ATS saves employers time and money and keeps them organized during the recruitment process. Secondly, keywords reveal your qualifications to the hiring manager and highlight your talents and skill sets.

Remember to add skill-related keywords to your cover letter. The skills you mention in the cover letter should match closely to those outlined in the job description. Another type of keyword you’ll want to include in your cover letter are accomplishment keywords. For these keywords, focus on specific outcomes and milestones. Examples of accomplishment keywords might include: managed, increased/reduced, designed, implemented, developed, cultivated, and forecasted.

4) Proofread Your Cover Letter
Always review and proofread your cover letter carefully before sending it off to a recruiter or employer. Avoid typographical errors and long, run-on sentences or paragraphs. Mistakes and typos in your cover letter tell an employer that you don’t care about the quality of your work, including the communications you send. Is your grammar, syntax, punctuation, and capitalization correct? Have you checked for typographical errors? Does your cover letter outline why you’re the best candidate for the job? Are names spelled correctly? This checklist will help you write a solid letter.

5) Personalize Your Cover Letter
A personalized approach works in your favor when writing your cover letter. Be sure to send your cover letter to a specific contact person instead of a blind e-mail address such as info@youremployer.com. Use networking platforms such as LinkedIn to locate contact information for recruiters and hiring managers. Or, call a prospective employer and ask for the name of the HR manager. If you have the contact information for a recruiter or HR professional, it’s essential to spell the person’s name correctly, and include their job title and credentials if you have them.

By following these timely suggestions, your cover letter will be a powerful addition to a well-written resume. Follow the steps above and you’ll unquestionably get the attention of your next employer or recruiter.

Today, many job candidates are busy juggling a career, family, and their job search. The good news is that you don’t have to spend all your time looking for a new role. The team at Underwood Edge will partner with you to help you find a great job and the right career path. Check out our current job openings and contact us so we can match your skills with an employer who is seeking your talents. We are here to guide you through each step of your job search

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