Your cover letter is more than just a formality or a courtesy. It’s an opportunity to impress. Research has shown that 90 percent of employers say a cover letter is valuable as they consider job candidates.

A concise and compelling cover letter is your first chance to stand out from the competition, highlight your unique, value-added qualifications, and demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in an opportunity.  Its wording can convey your personality in a way your resume cannot. Moreover, your cover letter can positively explain any gaps in your resume, for reasons such as re-entering the job market, relocating, or changing your career focus.

Tips for Strong Cover Letters

Use these tips to craft a strong cover letter that will complement your resume and convince a hiring manager to bring you in for an interview:

1. Don’t just rehash your resume.

Draw attention to specific skills and experience that make you the best candidate. Explain why you’d love to have the job and how it aligns with your personal values and career goals.

2. Grab the reader’s attention immediately.

Write an appealing first paragraph. Highlight your three or four best accomplishments early on. Immediately emphasizing your key strengths will “sell” you and increase the likelihood of progression through the selection process.

3. Tailor your letter to the specific employer and position.

Just as you would with your resume, begin by carefully reviewing the job description. List your specific qualifications that match the role. Support your claims with facts and numbers. Demonstrate your familiarity with the position, the company, and the industry.

4. Incorporate keywords from the job description.

This will help you to pass successfully through automated applicant tracking systems. Review such details as required degrees or certifications, number of years’ experience, software skills and project management background. Include the exact terminology in your cover letter.

5. Address your letter personally.

If necessary, call the company and ask for the hiring manager’s name. In addition to a personalized greeting, you can also mention any connections you have to the company or colleagues you have in common. Of course, if you are using names, be sure to check with these contacts ahead of time.

5. Thoroughly proofread.

There is no excuse for misspellings, typos or grammatical errors. Benefit from a second set of eyes: Have a trusted friend review your cover letter as a final check.

Are you looking for the next step in your career?

The right cover letter is one of many critical steps to landing your dream job. The search consultants at TRC Professional Solutions are thinkers, doers, and achievers who can partner with you to complete all these steps and move your career forward. Find your next great opportunity by contacting us today.

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