It’s practically unheard of nowadays to apply for a job or an internship without submitting a cover letter. Companies are flooded with resumes, and candidates need to stand out in order to avoid unemployment. In today’s competitive job market, it is crucial that individuals come prepared to the job search with dazzling resumes and eye-catching cover letters. To help individuals master the process, NerdScholar asked career experts for the best ways to make a cover letter stand out. Follow their tips to land the interview.
20 Powerful Words to Use in a Cover Letter 1. Solved, 2. Promoted, 3. Oversaw, 4. Improved, 5. Adapted, 6. Positivity, 7. Initiated, 8. Planned, 9. Managed, 10. Lead, 11. Innovative, 12. Trained, 13. Built, 14. Introduced, 15. Strengthened, 16. Directed, 17. Persuaded _18. Organized, 19. Projected, 20. Assessed
Before you begin writing your letter
1. Understand your purpose. The purpose [of a cover letter] is to provide an engaging personal introduction, to connect your unique qualifications to the specific qualifications for the position, and to pique the employer’s curiosity enough that they want to look at your resume.” Above all, it should answer one question: Why should this company hire you? 2. Create a Venn Diagram of ideal skills and attributes. A Venn diagram will help you determine which of your skills and attributes align with a specific job or employer. The diagram is comprised of a “you” circle and “job/employer” circle. In order to understand which skills you should highlight in your cover letter, “take a look at the job or internship description and pull out key words and phrases they have listed to describe their ideal candidate for the role. After you have filled in the “you” circle with your skills and attributes, identify a few that align with the “job/employer” circle. “You can then place those items in the space where the circles overlap. Those themes will serve as the content” for your cover letter. 3. Research, Research, Research.While your resume is customized to a career, your cover letter is customized to a position. Putting time into researching the company and specific position is crucial when writing a cover letter; without it, your cover letter will quickly end up in the “no” pile, whereas showing you have done your homework as to the company’s needs and values will go a long way in the application process. Additionally, learn about the organization by speaking with people who work there. Informational interviews will lend a job seeker further insight into daily life at the company.
During the writing
4. Be specific and show initiative. Make sure you address the company formally and outright by directing your letter to a specific person. If a hiring manager or contact liaison is not explicitly stated, use the Internet or call the company directly to get the contact person’s name and title. This will not only show the employer your initial interest in the position, but also your seriousness as a candidate. Make sure you are clear and concise in asking for an interview in the letter. The point of the cover letter, after all, is to persuade the employer that you are the best candidate for the job. Having a clear call to action—in this case, for an interview—followed by your detailed contact information, is key to clinching your spot as a viable candidate. 5. Use key words when referencing your qualifications and past experiences. Once you have researched the company and scanned the job posting for key words, be sure to incorporate these phrases into your cover letter. The best way to do this is to include the key phrases and industry jargon in descriptions of your skills and experiences. 6. Avoid overselling yourself. Don’t come off as cocky when listing your experience. Though your cover letter should portray you as a skilled candidate, it is more important that you show how the company will benefit from your expertise. One way to do this is to rephrase most of your sentences that begin with “I” so that they reflect the company instead. 7. Address the company’s values. Make sure you convey why and how you would add value—a key factor in the hiring process. Make a note of their great leadership program and opportunities for growth and development within that that also attracted you to the company, apart from the job listing. Customizing cover letters for every job application is important. It’s okay to use a previous letter as a starting point, but every letter you send needs to be unique. Write the letter from the audience’s point of view. 8.Scrap generic phrases and be original. It is important that job applicants to choose their words carefully. Don’t just throw something generic together without getting some guidance from a career center, family, or friends. “Your writing represents you. If you take the time to be creative about the words you use, it’s a reflection of your writing and attention to detail.”
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