Source | LinkedIn : By Kunal Kerai
This is the third article in my #JobHunt series. You find the previous articles at the bottom of this article.
People. Just. Can’t. Write. Cover. Letters.
It’s so bad that many companies no longer require them. It’s so bad that most recruiters disregard or trash the cover letters they do get because they are just a duplicate resume. I’ve seen hundreds of resumes, and I empathize with every recruiter out there that has to read boring cover letters.
But once in a while, I see a fantastic one.
I’ve worked with clients who did not have the experience necessary for the jobs they were applying for, but as their recruiters said to them, and they said to me: it was the cover letter that gave them the chance to interview, and eventually land their job.
Your cover letter should not be a regurgitation of your resume. A good cover letter will illuminate another aspect of who you are as a candidate, and how the company would benefit from you. This article will provide four ways of improving your cover letter:
1: Personalize your introduction.
First impressions are everything.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen “To Whomever It Concerns” as the opening for a cover letter. Two inherent problems with that salutation’s first impression: 1) it sets a tone that shows you didn’t care enough to find out the person you’re addressing, and 2) it’s so formal that it can come off as alienating. In this day and age, that kind of salutation should be your very last resort.
Before committing to a salutation, make sure to look at a company website, LinkedIn, an email, a job posting, job description, etc. to be able to find the name of your potential reviewer. It is generally harder to find names for larger companies, and much easier for smaller companies (under ~600) that may have small recruiting/hiring team. After you’ve exhausted that, write the opening salutation.
If you do not know the recruiter/ hiring manager after searching a reasonable amount of time for a name, use an opening like “Dear Hiring Team” because it feels a little more specific, warm and friendly than the overly formal “Dear Sir or Madam” and “To Whomever It Concerns”:
However, if did manage to find the recruiter/ hiring manager’s name, address them by their name. If it’s your first point of contact, Mr./Ms. (e.g. Mr. Kerai for me) is the safest bet.