Getting Back to Basics: Cover Letter Essentials

It’s often overlooked and quite frankly, it shouldn’t be. The cover letter, as you’re probably already aware, can help your resume shine. That is, if you have an effective one.

According to a piece on Fast Company, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Per the piece, Slate editor Katherine Goldstein strongly suggests focusing on the cover letter to land a new job.

“It is not uncommon for me to get 100 applications for one spot, so I’m constantly looking for reasons not to advance a candidate to the interview round. Writing a good cover letter is your best shot at getting noticed. If I hate a cover letter, I won’t even look at the resume.”

And particularly in our line of work, it’s important to have a vibrant cover letter that speaks volumes. If you’re going for a writing job and your cover letter is lackluster, consider your candidacy a no-go. However, if your letter sparkles it’s certainly a way to get your foot in the door.

Your cover letter can indeed stand out from the pack by not taking yourself too seriously. For instance, one way to get put into the slush pile is to have an opener such as, “Dear Sirs: With this notice I therefore declare my interest in the position advertised on your site.” Um, no.

Instead, express your passion and enthusiasm for the job. “I’m excited to apply for this position because …”

Next, state why you’re a perfect fit. Succinctly show that you’ve done your research on the company and its brand, and while you’re at it, show them how you can fill their needs and solve their problems.

Showcase your track record to excel in the advertised job responsibilities. The goal? To concisely articulate how you will make the hiring manager’s life a whole lot easier.

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