5 Steps to a Great Cover Letter
While most professionals spend hours and sometimes days or weeks mulling over just how to create the best resume, surprisingly enough, those same people more often than not, don’t even give a second thought to including a cover letter. With the IT market as competitive as it is today, most IT professionals are finding that they’ve got to do something to make their resumes stand out in the pack. A cover letter is an excellent place to start. If your cover letter isn’t any good, obviously – the resume that you labored over or even paid someone to write isn’t even going to get read.
To make things a littler easier, here are five simple rules to follow when writing your cover letter that are guaranteed to make a good first impression. Remember that the goal of your cover letter is simply to get the prospective employer to read your resume.
As first impressions are key, it’s important that the appearance of your cover letter and resume are professional looking and consistent. Avoid the urge to use designer stationary and fancy fonts. While it might attract the eye, odds are it’s not going to get you the attention you want. Make sure that you use the same heading and fonts in both the letter and the resume.
They need to look like they belong together. Take the time to find out the name of the person that will be reading the letter and make sure you address it to him/her personally. Taking the time to find out the name of the person you’re addressing will indicate an interest in the company. Cover letters and resumes addressed “to whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” are often set aside first.
It is imperative that the opening paragraph of your cover letter captures and holds the readers interest. The paragraph should also include a reference to the position you’re interested in as well as a brief statement as to why you’re qualified for the position. Place the emphasis of this paragraph on what you can do for the company and provide a few key points to solidify the truthfulness of your statement.
Your cover letter is not meant to include everything you’ve already placed in your resume, however, you should use a few bullet points to emphasize accomplishments that are pertinent to the position. It will not only help break up the text of the letter but will also draw the readers attention to the top of the page where you’ve included your most important paragraph.
And finally, always initiate further action at the end of your letter. A proactive close will let the prospective employer know that you’ll be calling within a few days to schedule an appointment or interview. Take the initiative and follow up. Often times, managers schedules are extremely tight and the ones that get invited in are the ones who initiate the first meeting.