The dreaded cover letter. This is where you, the job candidate, have to convey all this important information as to why you’re the perfect person for the job. It shouldn’t be that difficult, right? For multiple reasons, however, it makes some job seekers procrastinate applying for jobs. Do you ever find yourself making the following excuses?
I’m Not a Good Writer
Even if you’re not a writer by trade, you can put together a great cover letter. If you know writing a cover letter is not your strong suit, then research some samples for your career to help you with wording and keywords.
Think about what is most important to you to convey to a potential employer and jot that down. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. Concentrate on getting your thoughts on paper. You’ll have time to go back and tweak the sentences.
I Don’t Know What Achievements to Include
Be sure to look at the job announcement for which you are applying. What made you interested in it to begin with? Why did you feel you were qualified? Whatever those reasons are, you need to include them in your cover letter. You may know why you’re qualified, but the employer still has to be convinced.
Once you figure out these key achievements, writing them in a short bullet list really makes them standout. Bullets help skimmers pick out the important information so they know right away if you have the “right stuff” for their company.
I’m Not Sure How It’s Supposed to Look
This is a common concern. You might have all the information you need but now you’re sitting there wondering if it’s formatted correctly and professionally. Don’t get hung up on this. You can waste a lot of time and energy if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.
When you go to format your cover letter, be sure that the header matches your resume. You resume and cover letter should look like a cohesive package. Now, if you don’t have your resume written yet, then you can decide how you want the header to look. The header includes your name and contact information ¬– so you want to make sure it stands out so the employer knows how to contact you for an interview.
I Don’t Know How to Customize My Cover Letter for Each Position
As a rule, you don’t want to send out a generic cover letter to each company to which you apply. The employer will know that it’s generic and that you didn’t spend too much time or effort to make it special for the job they are looking to fill.
Instead, do your research. Find out what that particular company’s history is, what the position entails and what their future plans are. Include the company’s name in your cover letter, along with the position you are applying for. If you find out an interesting tidbit about the organization, include it. Be sure to do so in a natural way though. If you start including every little thing you find out, then the purpose of your cover letter will be lost.
So while it can be intimidating to write your cover letter, when you surround yourself with the information you need, it goes so much easier. If you get stuck, take a break and then come back to it. Sometimes a fresh mind is all you need.