A few months ago I wrote a popular post at Republic Resumes called The Art of the Cover letter. I’ve added more information below, which will help get your resume on to the ‘must interview’ pile.
Write a fresh cover letter for each job
Sure, faster and easier to take the cover letter you wrote for your last application, change the name of the company, and send it off – then wait for the rejection email.
Employers want to see that you’re excited about the specific position and company, which means creating a custom letter for each position.
While it’s OK to recycle a few strong sentences and phrases from one cover letter to the next, NEVER send out a generic letter.
Include the surname of the recruiter or employer
The most traditional way to address a cover letter is to use the person’s last name, including “Mr.” or “Ms.” (e.g., “Dear Ms. Smith”).
Never use generic salutations like, “Dear Sir or Madam”. Work in the 21st century. Cover letters need to be customised.
If you can’t figure out the specific hiring manager’s name, address your cover letter to the head of the department for the role you’re applying for.
A cover letter expands on the resume
A common pitfall is to use the cover letter to regurgitate what’s on the resume.
Don’t repeat yourself: “I was in charge of identifying and re-engaging former clients.”
Instead, expand on those bullet points to paint a fuller picture of your experiences and accomplishments, and show why you’d be perfect for the job and the company.
For example: “By analysing past client surveys, NPS scores, and KPIs, I bought a data-driven approach to the task of re-engaging former clients.”
- What approach did you take to tackling one of the responsibilities you’ve mentioned on your resume?
- What details would you include if you were telling someone a (very short!) story about how you accomplished that bullet point?
- What about your personality, passion, or work ethic made you especially good at getting the job done?
These questions lie at the heart of writing strong cover letters.