Too many people make the mistake of thinking that the cover letter that goes with their resume isn’t all that important. You may have even heard that no one reads the cover letter, right? Whether that is an accurate statement or not, it doesn’t serve as an invitation for you to overlook any opportunity to make a great impression on the potential reader of your cover letter. You want to make your personal brand shine, and the cover letter is an excellent place to start. Use these tips to help your brand SHINE when writing your next cover letter.
1. Use the name of the person to whom you are writing, rather than the generic, “Dear Sir,” “Dear Madam,” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
In today’s world, there is simply no excuse for not taking the time to find the name of the person to whom you are addressing the cover letter. Don’t know for sure? Then use the name of the Human Resources Director or the Hiring Manager. Is it a small company where there may not be an HR department? Then use the name of the Executive Director or the CEO. Regardless, and even if you get the name wrong, use a name. Failing to do so proves that you are either (A) lazy or (B) sloppy. Neither of those impressions will go very far in creating a good impression of you or your brand. Make your personal brand shine by going to whatever trouble it takes to get the name of a real person to whom you will address the cover letter.
2. The letter’s format and its contents must be perfect.
Format the letter correctly and make sure it is error free. Have someone else proofread it for you to make sure that spelling errors, punctuation errors, spacing errors, and so on are not included in your cover letter. Any mistake is the kiss of death to your application and your dreams of ever working for the company to which you are applying. Your personal brand should demonstrate that you have a penchant for impeccability and accuracy…so don’t ruin it with a careless spelling or formatting error in the cover letter.
3. Keep it brief.
Your cover letter is a brief introduction of yourself to the reader. Don’t overdo it by getting too wordy. Make it short enough but interesting enough that you leave the reader wanting to know more! Force them to look at your resume for the details. Too often people mistakenly use their cover letter to regurgitate or repeat all of the pertinent points that are included in the resume. If you are going to do that, save your time. Not only will the reader not read all of your cover letter, they probably won’t read your resume either.
4. Make it relevant to the job description.
Use a story or anecdote that conveys what you can offer the job that no one is likely able to duplicate. You may have to get creative, but do that instead of offering a boring, nondescript, “Please find enclosed my resume where you will see that….” Make the cover letter about why you are applying for this position and why you are the best person for the job. Prove that you have an understanding of the job description and the job itself. Offer examples of experience in a similar job if you can. Be specific and be relevant. Your personal and professional brand relies upon your being able to convey that you understand the various aspects of the job for which you are applying.
5. Demonstrate your interest in this company and this job as opposed to just any company and any job.
Too often, and especially if you are looking at several jobs at once, you may decide to cut corners and make the cover letter sound more generic in tone than specific. Don’t do it! Make your letter point out why you are particularly interested in working in this particular position and for this particular company. Otherwise, you miss your opportunity to demonstrate that you have researched the company (you have researched the company, right?) and know that you have something special and of value to bring to them that no one else can match or duplicate.
Don’t make the same mistakes that many people make when it comes to writing your next cover letter. Use your unique voice. Showcase your experience and expertise. Be specific but keep it brief, and make sure it doesn’t resemble a resume instead of a cover letter. These are just a few tips that will go a long way toward making your personal brand shine in your next cover letter.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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