Cover Letter Writing Basics

Your resume is edited to perfection, your interview skills are honed, and you’ve mastered the job search keywords; what are you forgetting? Your cover letter. The right cover letter can help you get your foot in the door for an interview, then you’ll have the opportunity to wow them. With a high number of applicants for any given position, you want to stand out in every way possible. Here are some of the basics and some ways to stand out in your cover letter writing:

  • Make it personal. Avoid using generic greetings. Call or email to find the name of the hiring manager and address the cover letter directly to them.
  • Open with a strong sentence.
  • Use the job description verbiage to discuss your skills. Don’t regurgitate what is in your resume but use their own words when possible. If they want “team leadership on the job” then elaborate on an example of your “team leadership on the job.”
  • Avoid mentioning salary, benefits or perks that only involve you. No future employer wants to hear that you are applying for a job because of what they have to offer. Sell yourself to them.
  • Tell your story with confidence and a touch of humility. No one wants to read an arrogant cover letter.
  • Mention the job title. Hiring managers usually hire for multiple jobs at once so make their jobs easier by putting in the job title. This way they know immediately what job to associate with you.
  • Take the time to research something about the company and mention it. For example, if they have recently won an award, made a humanitarian contribution or hired new public leadership, you should mention these highlights. Maybe they have a new facility that you’ve toured or heard good things about, these are the kinds of things you want to share so they know you have done your research.
  • Don’t forget your contact information. It should be an email address that looks professional, as well as a working phone number. No need to include your physical address.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. Ask a second person to read over your cover letter and resume. Take the time to check grammar, punctuation, and spelling; don’t rely on the document editors alone.
  • End the cover letter with a call to action (CTA). Invite the reader to view your resume, call you for an interview, or visit your online portfolio to see your work.

A cover letter is a time to share, in a more personal way, your accomplishments and what you can offer the company. Connect the dots for the reader between your resume and what the job description entails. With locations in PortlandClackamasBeavertonEverett, and Vancouver, our skilled recruiters are ready to help you take the next step in your career. If you’re excited for a new challenge, call NW Staffing today.

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