By Latisha Ellison
Raise your hand if you absolutely dread writing a cover! I imagine many of you raised your hand, just like I have in the past. I used to hate writing cover letters and didn’t understand their importance, especially when I heard that some hiring managers don’t even look at cover letters.
The truth is, sometimes cover letters can be stressful, but they are always important and can make you stand out. I did a little bit of research and reached out to a few hiring managers to help you really nail your next cover letter.
Write a cover letter.
I know, it seems obvious, but Angela Zoes, hiring manager at Falls Communications, says you’d be surprised how many applicants only send in a resume; she gives you bonus points if you send in a cover letter! So, it may seem needless, but the cover letter complements your resume and could actually put you a step ahead of another applicant! Be sure to address the letter to an actual person. If you can’t find the name of a person, say, ‘Dear hiring manager/team,’ never say ‘To whom it may concern.’
Tell a story.
As aspiring PR pros, we know storytelling is the very core of our profession and the same is true when we are advocating for ourselves. Your cover letter is what the hiring manager will see even before they read your resume, so it’s important to make your cover letter informative, yet compelling. What will make them want to keep reading and look at your resume? Start off with a personal or professional story that will help connect you to the position you’re applying for. True Digital Communications Controller, Leah Mussay, says your cover letter allows you to highlight your skills and why you’re a good fit for the position.
Keep it short. PROOFREAD.
The hiring manager at your prospective company will be reading through a bunch of cover letters and resumes, and yours should stand out. Be clear, concise and to the point. Your cover letter shouldn’t be more than 250-300 words and about three to four paragraphs in length. They want to know who you are, why you’re a good fit and why you want a job at their company. Don’t forget to proofread, proofread and proofread! This is your first impression, so don’t let a grammar error stop you from getting the job.
Your cover letter should showcase your relevant experience and what you hope to learn at the company. Really look at the job description, pull out the keywords it used and incorporate them into your letter where it fits. This shows the employer exactly what you can bring to the table and shows a willingness to learn new projects too.
Don’t be too formal.
Remember! The cover letter is your first impression on a prospective employer and they want to see some personality. Show your personality and enthusiasm for the job with your word choice and experience you show--don’t use jargon, especially when it doesn’t make sense.