Your cover letter plays an important role in building a first impression of who you are as a person and a worker to your potential employer. So, it is important to do everything you can to capture and keep their attention.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you have over 100 candidates applying to a job posting, would you want to read the same introduction and a similar letter over and over again?
To help yourself stand out, avoid outdated opening statements such as “To whom it may concern” or “dear Sir/Madam”. Gendered pronouns may be unsuitable in today’s society, so look for something more gender neutral, that is a bit more specific than “Dear Human Resources”. Some companies aren’t even large enough for a specific HR staff member either, so make sure you do your research on the company you are applying to.
Your best bet is to find the name of the hiring manager or someone with hiring power within the company to address your cover letter to. Check the employer’s website, business directory or LinkedIn to look for a specific name. A study that sent employers several sets of identical cover letters, but one with “Dear Manager” one with the manager’s actual name concluded that the latter can make you up to 70% more likely to be offered an interview.
Aside from who you address your cover letter to, it’s also important to create a link between yourself and the company. Do your research on what the company values and what services they offer, and talk about what you can do to help make them better. People are often far more likely to carry on a conversation when talking about themselves rather than just hearing a list of facts about you. No matter how great you are, if you can’t help this specific company improve and show that you’ve done your research into how, you may not get a callback.
A good spot to show yourself off though, is if you have a marketing tool or branding statement. If you are unsure of what that is or need help coming up with something, our Employment Team is happy to help you with that and every other aspect of your cover letter!
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