Every story has a first page, right?
In the recruiting world, the cover letter is often overshadowed by the all mighty resume, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make or break your application and/or interview. A cover letter is a first impression which gives you a chance to focus on things that may not be apparent in your resume, as well as highlight and tailor the content to the specific opportunity.
Do you even need one?
The short answer is no, but it’s always a good idea to have one in draft form at all times – because if the company requests it, you don’t want to be scrambling. Then, instead of writing it from scratch, you can simply customize it for the company, industry, and location. Just be sure to proofread it well, then proofread it again, then have your grammar marm friend to proofread it – cover letters are often used as secret writing samples, so it literally needs to be perfect.
What Makes a Good Cover Letter Great?
There are millions of blog posts out there will give you endless cover letter advice, like here, here, and here, but when I asked my Crew here at Catch, they gave me a few pointers that I wanted to pass along…
Focus on Your Strengths – Go through your resume and use the cover letter speak to those strengths and experiences that are relevant to the specific opportunity. Highlighting strengths that are aligned with the company’s business will give you an extra edge.
Showcase Your Value – Clearly articulate how you can add value based on your past experience and strengths, and be specific. Be confident, and cite ways you can help grow the company and be a part of their success.
Keep It Short – Every recruiter and hiring manager is busy, so be brief and leave them wanting more. If you pique their interest in the right way, you’ll set yourself up for a call back and great interview.
Your Impact Matters – You should end the letter with your interest in the opportunity and how you can make an immediate impact on the company and the bottom line. Every hiring manager wants to know that their shiny new employee will hit the ground running.
Along with your resume, a well-written cover letter will create a complete package that will hopefully lead to a phone screen or interview. If you end up with an onsite interview, don’t feel like you have to bring it with you unless the recruiter or hiring manager requests it.
Every picture, and cover letter, tells a story, so be sure yours is an engaging read! And when you’re ready to test it out, take a look at our job openings and send it our way.