Crafting a Standout Cover Letter

Reading Time 2 minutes

Ugh. The dreaded cover letter. Does it really get read? Shouldn’t my resume speak for itself? Do not allow these thoughts deter you! If you are a serious job searcher (and we know you are), do not neglect this must-have step. Likely, there are going to be MANY resumes coming across your future employer’s desk. You have to get noticed and a killer cover letter is non-negotiable. Ready to set your application a notch above the rest? Get started with these seven easy tips:

1. Do your research

Well-written cover letters effectively introduce the applicant and highlight resume elements that most closely match the specific job description and company values. So before you start writing, do your research and remember—this is about them! Be prepared to address the recipient by name (‘to whom it may concern’ is not acceptable) and describe how your employment will specifically benefit their organization.

2. Invoke your inner storyteller

Cover letters are exactly that—a letter. This is your chance to get personal with prospective employers and tell your story as it relates to them—meaning each letter should be tailored to the job and follow a narrative structure.
Pro tip: before you start writing your personal letter, create an outline.

3. Be enthusiastic

Be your own advocate and cheerleader. You’re confident, qualified and the best candidate for the job. Your written voice and tone must communicate this!

4. Don’t forget the hook

The person reviewing your cover letter and resume doesn’t automatically owe you a call back. Why should they want to get to know you through an interview? Use your introduction to hook them right away.

5. Connect the dots

Expand upon your unique experiences as it relates to the role—do not simply copy and paste your resume. Provide direct examples of your experience managing tasks similar to the role responsibilities—letting them know just how you will succeed if hired. If you don’t have much workplace experience, you can also cite responsibilities you’ve held in organizations, clubs and during internships.

6. Close with confidence

Let the employer know that you’re looking forward to speaking with them further about the specific ways you will use your skillset to make contributions to the organization. Make sure to thank them for their time and consideration.

7. Hit submit

Walk away for a bit before conducting your final review. We guarantee you’ll find at least one thing to improve with a fresh set of eyes. The last step? Always save as a PDF with a professional file name.
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Additional Career Resources

How to Dress for Success

How to Prepare for an Interview

You Received a Job Offer … Now What?

Questions to Ask During Job Interviews

After an Interview: Follow Up Best Practices

Conquering Job Applications

Crafting a Standout Cover Letter

Six Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Job Search

Writing Your Best Resume

Your Job Search: Strategies for Success

Developing Your Professional Network

How to Tell Your Story

How to Use LinkedIn Like a Pro

How to Conquer Career Fairs

This site includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. AgriNovus Indiana has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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