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6 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

 

Your cover letter introduces you to a hiring manager. It helps the manager form an impression of you as a candidate.

Your cover letter also highlights why you are the best candidate for the position.  This impacts whether you are contacted for an interview.

As a result, you want your cover letter to be as effective as possible. The following suggestions can help.

Implement these six tips to help your cover letter stand out from all the rest.


1. Address the Hiring Manager

There are many ways to find the hiring manager’s name and include it in your greeting.

  • Check the job posting for the hiring manager’s name.
  • Use LinkedIn to determine the hiring manager.
  • Call the company to ask for the hiring manager’s name and title.

2. Promote Yourself

Share your enthusiasm for the position and company.

  • Relate your skills and experience to the job description and qualifications.
  • Demonstrate why you are best suited for the role.
  • Comment on the company mission or leadership to show you researched the organization.
  • Ask to follow up about the position.

3. Be Concise

Limit your cover letter to three paragraphs focused on different parts of your resume.

  • Begin with an attention-grabbing introduction that shows your enthusiasm for the role and organization.
  • Mention the employee who referred you, if applicable.
  • Highlight your most important skills, experience, and accomplishments that relate to the position.
  • Explain why you are well-qualified for the role.
  • State how you would add value to the organization.
  • Thank the hiring manager for their consideration.
  • Request a call or interview to follow up.

4. Customize Your Cover Letter

Tailor your cover letter to the role and company.

  • Tie the most important parts of the position to your skills and experience.
  • Point out how your contributions would be unique.
  • Use numbers to emphasize your accomplishments relevant to the role.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, company, and type of position.

5. Emphasize Your Accomplishments

Demonstrate how your achievements can benefit the company.

  • Share examples of the projects you worked on, the results you achieved, and how they impacted the organization.
  • Include the awards and recognition you received from previous employers.
  • Show you are a top performer who wants to grow along with the company.

6. Use Keywords

Pepper throughout your cover letter keywords and key phrases from the job description.

  • Keywords help your cover letter and resume pass an applicant tracking system (ATS).
  • The ATS scans for keywords to determine how closely a cover letter and resume match the skills and experience needed for the position.
  • The appropriate cover letters and resumes are sent to the hiring manager for review.
  • The hiring manager contacts the selected candidates for an interview.

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Do You Still Need a Cover Letter When Applying to an IT Job

Due to the fact that most IT jobs primarily require a high degree of technical experience and ability, many job candidates in the industry assume that sending a resume to an employer on its own will sufficiently demonstrate their qualifications for a particular role. Resumes, after all, are intended to be clear-cut and straightforward documents that lay out the bare facts of your professional experience and skills.

While resumes are undoubtedly a crucial component that should be included in every job application, they don’t necessarily provide employers with an in-depth feel of an applicant’s character or unique abilities. In order to communicate those qualities, it’s essential to include a cover letter in every application that you submit in your IT job search.

What are the benefits of a cover letter?

As mentioned above, a resume – while very useful – should only be communicating the bare-bones facts of one’s career: work experience, education, technical skills, awards, contact information, and so on. A cover letter, on the other hand, should paint a picture in an employer’s mind of who you are, why you’re passionate about what you do, and how, specifically, your unique background, skills, and experience make you the best possible candidate for the role that you’re applying to.

In other words, it should take the facts that are contained in your resume and turn them into a story about how you’ve come to be who you are and where you are today.

What are the components of the ideal cover letter?

Compared to resumes, cover letters typically require a bit more time, thought, and effort. To simplify things a bit, here are four basic components that should be included in every cover letter:

 

  • Greeting, such as “Dear Mrs. [insert name of hiring manager].

 

  • Body paragraph containing an outline of your experience and the specific reasons why you’re a uniquely good fit for the job.

 

  • Role and Industry-specific keywords placed strategically throughout the letter.

 

  • Appropriate closing, such as “sincerely,” or, “thank you for your consideration.”

 

To learn more about how to format a compelling and effective cover letter, check out some of these templates.

At RightStone, we’re passionate about providing job candidates with the education and resources that they’ll need to advance to the next stage in their careers. To get started on your IT job search, contact us today!


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