There was some talk about cover letters not being relevant to applications anymore. The truth is that it may matter more than submitting a resume alone. A cover letter will help introduce you to the hiring manager and may even put you on their shortlist before they even see your resume.
If you want to write the perfect cover letter, this is the way to do it:
- Add a personal greeting.
This is a given, yet people still add greetings such as “Dear Hiring Manager,” “To whom it may concern,” “Greetings!” The best way to add a greeting is to find out who will receive the letter. If you can’t find out who will receive the resume and cover letter address it to the department and greet the head of the hiring department. To find out who that is, just give the company a call or search online. However, a call is better in case they haven’t updated their website with a new hiring manager’s name.
- An interesting introduction.
An interesting introduction is something that is not “I would like to apply for the position.” A unique introduction is a line that says “Keep reading.” In truth, you can even put that phrase as an example, but in a polite way. Think of a unique introduction that is related to your intention to apply and why this is the opportunity that you really want.
- Your personal logline.
A logline is a sentence that summarizes a television program, book, play, etc. You can apply the concept of the logline with your identity. Who are you? What have you done? What can you do? Answer those three questions in one sentence and you now have your own logline.
- Acknowledge the needs of the job hunter.
The next part of your cover letter should acknowledge that you read the job description and have researched the needs of the company for that role. Keep this to one or two sentences by explaining the specific duty you plan on doing and what the company is expecting from you and the job that you provide.
- Summarize how you will provide those needs.
Next, address how you plan to provide the needs of the company by giving them a short section on your plans as a “whatever it is you are applying for.” Make sure that this section catches their attention by providing them with a concrete and short description of your plan and suggestions.
- Mention other skills and how they can contribute to improving the company, products, and services.
Additional skills not related to the job description usually get some people hired. These types of skills add value to the company regardless of how unrelated they are. For example, if you are an artist applying for a medical-related position, you can mention that and they may see your skills as an added skill for marketing. When you look very closely at each skill, they almost always overlap with any industry.
- Add a link to relevant documents.
If you are sending an online cover letter, add a clean link. This means that it should be a direct download link scanned by your email provider or a link to a published page in a secure platform such as LinkedIn. Make sure the links are anchored meaning you cannot post the https version. Write a label and link your samples or resume to that.
- Attach relevant documents.
You can also attach your documents separately. Do not forget to name them appropriately so that the HR team will know which is which. Also do not combine your resume with your samples. One good way to make it easier for the hiring manager is to combine samples of your work in one document or portfolio.
- Add a positive conclusion.
When we say positive, we mean that you should thank the recipient of the letter, wish them well, wish them luck, or whichever feels appropriate for your application. This ends the letter in a nice note and may make the reader feel a little bit better about their day.
- Bonus Trick: Be presumptive in your final sentence.
One trick that sometimes works is today, “I look forward to working with you soon.” Or something to that effect. There’s no concrete evidence to support this, but I’ve had personal success with adding phrases like these in my previous applications.
Additional Tips for Cover Letters
- Get a graphic designer and make it look better than other applicants’. This is encouraged when applying to anything related to media and design.
- Have your cover letter and resume translated if you are applying to a foreign job. Get help from the best translation services for this part.
- Send it through snail mail. Physical letters, when not misplaced, will definitely be opened and read. This gives you an edge over email senders.