How do I write a Great Cover Letter

Writing a Terrific Cover letter is actually really complicated and a lot of candidates fail badly. 99% of Cover Letters in which I have read are usually the standard "I am applying for this position, I feel my qualifications and experience suit this position because ...", however every now and again you read a cover letter which you can be proud of.

Cover Letters are an exciting topic and there is a lot of discussion all over the net as to whether recruiters or hiring managers will actually read a cover letter. My personal advice is to use a cover letter when your sending your resume directly to a hiring manager, and skip it when your sending it to a recruiter.

This begs the obvious question-- How do I write a Great Cover Letter?

In order to create a fantastic cover letter you need to show off your character, knowledge and exactly what makes you different from the other candidates that have applied. One rule of creating fantastic cover letters-- DO NOT just repeat what your about to say in your resume. You resume is most likely to be "skim read" and if the relevant information on your resume and cover letter is the same, then you run the risk of the hiring manager "extreme skim reading" which means that likely they will miss important information on your resume and therefore makes it very hard for you to get your resume to stand out from the crowd.

A straightforward model for creating a great cover letter is to follow the following guide.

The Who

You need to start your cover letter with a personal message. "to whom this may concern" shows that you have not done your homework and most likely you have bulk emailed your resume to as many opportunities as entirely possible. Out of the 16 resumes I was emailed over the weekend, 10 did not even have my name on even though its in my e-mail address.

In most job adverts, you should be able to find the full name of person, if you using LinkedIn then its very easy to find out who placed the job, whilst with a bit of homework on the internet or a simple phone call to the firm and you should be able to find a certain person to send your resume to. If you do find a name, make sure that you use their first name, and make sure that you spell it the right way.

If you have searched high and low and really can not find someone specific to send your resume to, then use Dear Hiring Manager.

The What

You need to get to the point very quickly and therefore within the first sentence point out which job you are making an application for and who inside the company vouched for you for the specific job.

Try to be a specific as possible whenever you are pointing out a position. Obviously, if your applying to a job from a job advert, make sure that you also include the job title. If you're sending out your resume directly to a company and do not know the specific position then you can use the department and a level of seniority such as senior sales, or Junior administration.

As I have mentioned over and over again, a reference is worth its weight in gold and for that reason if at all possible you really should be naming a mutual friend, ex-employee within the company that you're making an application for or the best of possible reference, a current employee. Use networking tools such as LinkedIn or someone within your own personal network you hopefully will be able to find a contact. Make sure that you ask for approval before you drop their name.

If you genuinely can not get anyone to recommend you to a specific role, then open your cover letter using that reason you have applied for this role. 99 % of hiring managers and recruiters will look a the first few sentences so make sure they are good. I really need a job is honestly not a good opening line and usually means that no further progress will be taken with your cover letter and usually means that much less time is taken viewing your resume before it hits the rubbish bin.

The Why

This second should be tailored for each application you apply for. You should talk about your qualifications, knowledge and personality and how they will match each companies culture.

You need to make sure that you keep this section both short and snappy and you concentrate on why you're a match for the firm based upon your previous experience. Try to examine the job advert and making use of the keywords spell out why you're a perfect fit for the firm. Its completely of to use some examples, however ... ... You need to makes sure that you don't just duplicate what you will say in your Resume. I would go as far as saying, try to not mention anything in which is already in your Resume. This is essential as you want a hiring manager to read your resume, and if you have already told them your experience in details in your cover letter, why would they read through your Resume?

You need to convince the reader that you're a likely star, but look out for over promotion.

The Closing

Try to keep this simple, and with the optimum word from above "concise". Recruiters and hiring managers are extremely unlikely to read a lengthy Cover letter, personal I do not even read through them unless you have a wonderful resume and then I might have a quick look.

You will need to state that you "look forward to the possibility to interview", and I would normally go further and ask for the opportunity to interview and make sure that you have attached your resume. Yes we have all sent an email in the past without having our resume attached and errors do happen, however try not to make this straightforward error.

Remember-- A Cover letter that begins with "Dear Sir/Madam, I am making an application for the position ... ..." says absolutely nothing more than "it is a standardized cover letter, which is only good for one area of my computer, the trash can". !!!

Thomas Greig is a Head-Hunter by day and a Career Advice Blogger by Night and writes Career Advice for the website Get A Job With Tom Tom's dream is to provide enough information for you to successfully find your dream job no matter whether you need help with your Resumes and Cover Letters, Interview Preparation, or General Career Direction, his website will help you make some crucial decisions for your career path.

Please do not hesitate to view his website for more information.