Writing the perfect cover letter is extremely hard and time-consuming, and it’s extremely important. It should tell your story and grab someone’s attention so they want to meet you. Yet it must be concise and to-the-point. The average hiring manager/recruiter will only spend about 5-6 seconds scanning your cover note before they make a decision to contact you. Can you tell your story in 5 seconds? While it’s not easy, it can be done. You just need to follow some simple rules:
1. Customize each cover letter. Every job has different requirements and every company is little different. Personalize each cover letter according to the job ad or company.
2. Send it to a person. If the job ad doesn’t list a name, try LinkedIn or the company’s website. You can even call and get a name.
3. Remember it’s a letter. Follow the format for a letter even if it’s in an email.
4. Use key words. Make sure the main key words from the ad or job description are in your cover letter.
5. List skills. If the job ad or description calls for a specific skill or skills, make sure you highlight them.
6. Proof it. Use spell check, double-check it yourself, and then ask a friend to check it for you.
7. Keep it concise. Three paragraphs, 2-4 sentences in each, at most. Remember, you should be able to read it on any size electronic screen.
8. Up-to-date information. Make sure all your information is correct and if you have a website, check to see that’s the link is working.
You only have one shot, so make it count!