How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job

9/19/2016
Heather Huhman

Cover letters don’t get enough credit today, but they are actually a valuable instrument in the job seeker’s toolkit. They give you a chance to stand out and share more of you than your resume and application allow.

Here’s how to write an awesome cover letter:

Toss Out Those Templates

The most popular advice for writing cover letters usually involves using a template. But you should focus on customizing your letter to your audience, not filling out an existing template. When you’re applying to a medical supply company, for example, your cover letter should be different from the one you’re writing for a retail organization. Conductresearch on the company as well as the position to determine the best way to customize. Brush up on their competitors as well to develop a deeper understanding about what makes them unique.

[Related: Search Open Jobs in Your Area Hiring Now!]

You want them to know you did your homework and are engaged with the industry. Use your research wisely in your cover letter. For example, note how their recent press release that announced a new project management solution reminded you of some of the hurdles you overcame in the past during one of your big marketing campaigns.

Tell Your Story

The framework for your cover letter should depend on the stories you want to tell. Remember, a cover letter complements your resume; it does not regurgitate it. Hiring professionals want to see who you are. Before drafting your cover letter, compare your skills with the requirements for the position. Use venn diagrams to brainstorm and find what competencies you want to highlight and what specific experiences you want to share.

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