In the course of the IT professional’s job search, certain steps can ultimately mean the difference between being selected for an interview and being lost in the crowd. One of the most crucial of these steps is the crafting and submission of strong, compelling, and up-to-date cover letters.
The cover letter is your opportunity to leave a strong impression in the mind of a hiring manager. This document should communicate enough personal information that it creates a comprehensive picture of you, your background, and your experience; but it should not be so long that it leaves recruiters feeling bored. The bottom line is that creating the perfect cover letter is a balancing act; one that requires some knowledge about what, specifically, IT managers are looking for.
With that in mind, let’s explore four crucial steps to drafting the perfect IT cover letter:
- Draft Your Cover Letter so That it’s Complementary To, Not Duplicative Of, Your Resume – Your resume and your cover letter are two separate documents serving separate purposes, and they should be drafted accordingly. Your resume will delineate the specific roles you’ve had throughout your career, and your cover letter should detail the specific skills that you’ve acquired as a result of working in each role. In other words, your resume should be seen as a more technical document; your cover letter, on the other hand, should describe how your experience has caused you to grow and develop professionally over the years.
- Don’t Include Too Much Personal Information – Your cover letter should leave hiring managers with a detailed sense of your professional skills and experience. You don’t need to take up too much space discussing your personal or family life (unless that’s specifically requested in the job post). As a general rule, you should stick to elucidating your professional credentials and how they qualify you for a particular role when you’re crafting your cover letter.
- Tailor Each Cover Letter for the Role You’re Applying For – If you’re submitting a generic cover letter for every role that you apply to, hiring managers will be able to tell. This will not reflect well on your suitability for a role. Before you submit, be sure that you mention somewhere in your cover letter the following pieces of information:
- The position you’re applying for (this should be mentioned in the first couple of sentences)
- How you first heard about the job
- The skills and experience that qualify you for this particular role
- Be honest – As with any part of the application and interview process, honesty is always the best policy. Your cover letter should focus on your background, experience, skills, and aspirations in as transparent a way as possible. Stating – or even implying – that you have skills that you haven’t developed may benefit you in the short-term, but it will eventually come back to haunt you. Be yourself and sell your merits exactly as they are.
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