Nearly every position requires candidates to have a well-written cover letter. A strong cover letter can make you stand out from the pile of applications, and is a great way to let an employer get to know you. If you don’t know where to start or simply want to improve yours, check out these tips for writing a successful cover letter.
Do Your Research.
Before sitting down to write your cover letter, brainstorm what information you want to include. You should ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I writing to?
- What’s my objective?
- What is this employer looking for?
- What skills and qualities do I possess that make me the best person for the job?
- Why am I applying for this position?
The answers to these questions should all be included in your cover letter. You should try to tailor your cover letter to each different position you are applying for. Look into the company’s websites and social media accounts to get a feel for their culture. Does something about their mission statement excite you? Do their company values align with your personal ones? Do you admire the work that the company has done? Let them know!
Catch their Attention.
Make sure you can capture the hiring manager’s attention quickly if you want to stand out. In the first paragraph, convey who you are and why you’re right for the position. You can elaborate on this later on, but if you have years of experience, let them know right away. Hiring managers read through stacks of cover letters—opening with “I’m a Mechanical Engineer with 15 years of experience” will get a better reaction than “I’m applying for the Mechanical Engineer position that I saw on your company website”.
This goes back to the question: Why are you applying for the position? Employers want to see that you are genuinely interested in their company and are excited about joining the team. Make sure this shows through in your cover letter. If you aren’t excited about the company, you shouldn’t apply.
A cover letter should not be longer than a single page. A hiring manager with stacks of applications doesn’t want to read an essay, so try to be as concise as possible while still including all the necessary information. Remember that the employer can look at your resume for your complete work history, so just elaborate on the big ones.
Edit and Proofread.
There’s nothing worse than sending a cover letter full of typos to a prospective employer. Always make sure to proofread multiple times before you send your cover letter. It’s also a good idea to have friends, family or other resources look over your cover letter and help you perfect it. Recruiters and staffing agencies can be a great resource for cover letter, resume and interview advice.
Are you a job seeker looking for a position in the engineering or government sectors? Take a look at some of TriMech Services’ resources for job seekers!