What makes your cover letter appealing even before the hiring manager reads the first word?
It's not fancy stationery or your use of obscure fonts or a touch of graphic design. What appeals to a weary hiring manager is a one-page letter in 12 pt. Times New Roman with plenty of “white space” on the page.
If you want to land more interviews, the content needs to match the clean appearance of the letter.
Avoid looking and sounding like a form letter, like, “In response to your recent job posting,” or “To Whom it May Concern.” Those phrases can be a real turn-off to a manager, especially if their contact information was part of the job posting. Find out who you're writing to, even if you have to call the company and ask.
Tailor your letter to the company. If you've done your research, you know a little about the company and their industry. If you have past experience in that industry, mention it early. It's a positive connection.
State clearly how your qualifications fit their needs. Keep in mind that the employer's goal is to find the right individual for their open position, not to help you because you really need a job. And your goal is to land more interviews.
Make a side-by-side list of their requirements and your corresponding skills and experience. Even if the list is just to help you organize your thoughts, you'll be surprised how much this small outline will help you highlight parallels between their requirements and your skills.
Don't simply use your cover letter as an abbreviated resume. Your letter should complement and supplement your resume with some brief examples of your achievements that are relevant to the position so the hiring manager will want to get to know you.
Always include your contact information. Let them know you're available to meet at their earliest convenience or to provide any additional information they may require.
Always say thank you. It's common courtesy.
How do you fit all of the above on one page? In short, concisely.
Get to the point. Be concise. Make every word count. It's important not to waste the hiring manager's time with long-winded sentences.
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address contained just 272 words.
If you letter is brief, to the point, and organized, it will go a long way toward helping you to land more interviews.
Can the tone of your letter help you land more interviews? Absolutely!
Be yourself, but not to the extreme. Attempts at humor can be misunderstood. Once you land the job interview, you'll be able to better judge the situation and let your personality shine through.
Be confident in your skills and qualifications, but don't be arrogant.
Your letter is, however, personal. If you avoid the form letter jargon and outdated wording, you'll soon develop your own style and become a person to the reader instead of just an applicant.
How do you combine professional organization, targeted information, personal tone and brevity to land more interviews?
You get better with practice. The more employer-tailored cover letters you write, the easier it will become. Whether you're at the beginning of your job search, or you've been looking for a while, Live Career's Cover Letter Builder can help with step-by-step guidance in getting started.