As a hiring manager, if your resume and cover letter make it past the algorithm, I want to see that you can write. I want to learn more about why my organization over anywhere else is where you want to work. I want to see if your skills are a good fit beyond what your resume indicates.
That means I actually read your cover letter.
A supervisor once explained it to me this way: “I can teach a candidate how to use the tools to do the job, but I can’t teach the candidate how to write, get along with people or be curious.”
In a successful cover letter — that starts with why this job and this organization specifically — you are telling me you are not only looking for the title associated with the position but at my organization, which makes me curious and inclined to look closer at what you would bring to the role.
Writing well is a skill that takes time, practice and a dedicated process. Often this tells me quickly what kind of employee the applicant may be. If the cover letter is full of run-on sentences, rife with typos and other mistakes, it will give me pause and make me look closer at other performance indicators.
A rushed cover letter isn’t an outright dealbreaker, but it does tell me the candidate didn’t take the time to proofread.
A cover letter is an opportunity to showcase big wins and provide additional details about how and why you are the best person to do the job you are applying to do. If you can quantify this information, do so. Being able to share numbers even in a generalized way indicates you are able to quantify your work.
Use the space to highlight objectives achieved and goals accomplished with specifics. Providing details on the results of your work, even if you only had a small part in an overall project tells me you care about what happens after your work leaves your hands.
Better yet, tell me how you impacted your current employer and your designated goals and objectives. Did a process change because you observed an issue? Did you catch a small error before it turned into a bigger error? Did your work help your organization achieve a goal on time and on budget?
With your cover letter, you also have the opportunity to indicate you would be a good team and culture fit. My favorite cover letters tell me how the candidate made their current organization, team or process better. Maybe you revamped the script you use when answering the phone to be more conducive for routing the calls to the right person more quickly. Maybe you initiated a task tracking system for yourself or your team to better keep track of who is working on what, when. You have likely done more than your job description and a cover letter is a great time to expound on those job duties.
At a loss for how to start crafting a cover letter hiring managers want to read? Find your current job description or rewrite your current job description. Then add details about the goals and objectives you or you and your team are tasked with achieving. Finally, add details on how the work from your job description helps your organization achieve those goals. Make sure to compare what you’ve collected against the job description you are writing the cover letter for and see where there is overlap. Check if there are keywords and terms outlined in the job description you can add, then add them.
In short, I read cover letters because I want to see a candidate is taking the time to make sure not only can that they can perform the responsibilities of the job but that they could be a good fit with minimal training.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.