In today’s competitive job industry, you need to have a stand-out resume to land a gig. Corporate job listings get an average of 250 applications per listing. Out of those 250, only about 4 – 6 candidates will receive an interview. With rare exceptions, only one person will nail the job. Standing out positively to the recruiter, interviewer, and ideally, your future boss takes a stellar cover letter. Cover letters are self-introductions that give a brief overview of your personality and qualifications. They’re different from resumes as they’re not a strict highlight of your experience; a cover letter should focus on who you are, not just what you’ve done. We’re here to share the five key features that will make your cover letter stand out!
Your cover letter should be the first thing a recruiter sees, to be followed by your resume. A cover letter showcases what makes you special! Even if you’ve had the same jobs as another candidate, your cover letter will say why you’re different from them. You want to use creative words that complement, not replicate, your resume. No one wants to read the same thing twice! Highlight personal qualities that set you apart from the competition. A great tip to make sure they know you’re interested in their job (as opposed to any job) is to include specific keywords from the job posting in your text.
No job wants an insecure candidate! Show confidence that you’re the right fit for the job through your cover letter. Be proud of what you’ve already accomplished! Speak to not only past achievements but also the routes you plan on taking to continue your growth. Highlighting volunteer work shows you’re a go-getter, so any leadership tasks you’ve taken on should be featured in your cover letter. Always focus on your strengths but be careful to not cross the confidence threshold into bragging.
Are you more likely to read mail addressed to you or ads sent to everyone in the neighborhood? The mail addressed to you of course! The same thought process applies to cover letters. Hiring managers appreciate the extra time you take to properly address your cover letter. Instead of the basic ‘to whom it may concern’ line, do some internet research to get an actual name. This helps ensure you’re sending the letter to a human being. Don’t be afraid to call the company and ask for the HR department if you struggle in finding the hiring manager. They can help you get the right contact.
You must proofread your cover letter thoroughly. Look through it not just for grammatical errors but for accuracy in regards to the role you’re applying for. Don’t highlight your experience working with Apple products if you know the company has a partnership with Microsoft. Make sure your voice lines up with the company culture. Particularly formal positions, such as those in law firms, need a more traditional cover letter. Relaxed companies like Zappos tend to prefer quirkier letters. Editing skills are crucial for writing your cover letter! After you’ve perfected it to the best of your ability, pass it to a trusted friend for review. They may catch something you’d missed!
What makes the paper choice for your cover letter so important is the visceral reaction it causes when held. You naturally want to run your hands over a nice piece of paper again and again! Humans enjoy physically touching things more than reading on a screen. Printing your cover letter on a high-end paper leaves an impression; it shows you want to be taken seriously. It should always match your resume paper. Neutral colors are best as they allow black ink to pop. There are linen-inspired papers, sleek glossy papers, or regular printer paper (not recommended!) for your cover letter to be presented on. All options are available through Vegas Ink and Toner, as well as folders, folios, and presentation guides. We’re here to help with all your cover letter needs! For more common printing and other related tips please contact Vegas Ink and Toner.