Searching for the right job is difficult enough on its own. As if that wasn’t enough, you have to make sure your resume is on point, and you have to write the perfect cover letter. The cover letter can feel like the most tedious part of the process, and many candidates will skip it because of this. This makes for a very overlooked opportunity that you can take advantage of and show the hiring manager why you are perfect for the position.
If you just recently graduated, or are still attending school, you may not have much real life work experience, relevant to the position you are applying for or not. The perfect cover letter gives you the opportunity to explain your passion for the industry and include some of the experience that you may not have included in your resume. If you are applying for a position that will have overseeing a youth program, it would behoove you to mention volunteer work that included working with children. Volunteer work shows hiring managers that you are passionate and compassionate. Avoid including any experience that has no relevance to the position you are applying for. If you are applying for an internship to work in the mailroom of a marketing agency, it wouldn’t be a good idea to mention any aspirations of being an actor in Hollywood. Instead, you would want to mention soft skills that you possess, like a strong attention to detail and your organizational ability.
While some hiring managers may not be particularly moved by your volunteer work or hobbies, they will be looking for evidence that you can do the position. If the job requires writing, then mention your writing ability. You can mention that you wrote a weekly article for the school paper, or that you once won a writing competition and your story was later picked up by a national publication. If the job requires handling social media, you can mention that you are familiar with different platforms. If you have any certifications for these platforms, this would be a good time to mention those as well.
Honesty is key when writing the perfect cover letter. It is important for you to have self-awareness about yourself and the attributes you possess that would make you a good fit for the position and benefit both you and the company. When filling out the job application, it is a good idea to take the time to think if you are the right fit for the job. Some positions won’t be right for you, and that is okay. It is also important to observe if the company culture seems like one you want to be a part of. If you interview for a job, and afterwards observe that the employees all seem depressed and stressed out, you don’t want to accept just for money if it means sacrificing your mental health and emotional well-being. Put research into the company and use the cover letter as an opportunity to discuss what kind of environment you are wanting to work in.
A successful cover letter shows your personality and what you bring to the table. Too often when applying for a position, candidates recount their qualifications and previous experiences but leave out the most important part: who they are and what separates them from everyone else applying for the job.
Don’t let the formality of the hiring process get to you so much that you leave out any hint of you in the cover letter. Pretending to be someone else will never get the perfect job for who you really are. Too many people act like who they think their company wants them to be, instead of who they are. This is why so many are miserable at their job. Find a position and company you are passionate about.
Ask for Help
The career center at your college is a great place to get guidance if you need help writing a cover letter. Your local public library may also have some resources that can better demonstrate how to write the perfect cover letter. If you have any family or friends that are in management, you can ask them to review yours and give you advice. Remember, practice makes perfect. The perfect cover letter is not the end all be all of the hiring process, but it can be what makes the difference that decides which one of two similarly qualified candidates gets an interview.