If resumés aren’t stressful enough, most employers will ask you to write a cover letter to complete your job application.
“Cover letters are really interesting,” Indeed’s head of career insights, Jay Munro, told Yahoo Finance.
“There’s been a debate as to whether you should include one or not, but I think, ‘why not?’ Sure it’s a little more effort, but it won’t harm your chances.”
If you’re wondering what the dos and don’ts of cover letters are, Munro spilled the beans.
Highlight what your resumé misses
“It’s a good opportunity to start to highlight things that you’re going to miss on your resumé. In the resumé, you often have a summarised list of what you’ve achieved - but in the cover letter, it’s really important to pull those out and expand on them,” said Munro.
The idea is to look at your last job or two and find the biggest, most relevant achievement that you had in relation to the position that you’re applying for.
“You can start to identify that by looking at keywords used in the job ad, or even looking at what the company does.”
“It should be something that really makes you stand out and that talks to your experience.”
Don't oversell your soft skills
Words like “enthusiastic” can be hard to prove, Munro said, so don’t waste your word count with them.
“Make the cover letter actually tell a story about what you’re going to contribute, rather than what you believe your personality is.”
But still include your soft skills.
“It’s really important to try and get your soft skills across, but that doesn’t mean using every adjective you can find in the dictionary.”
Include the job you’re applying for
While it’s a little dated to say where you found the job you’re applying for, it’s important to include the job title. And get it right, Munro said.
“It’s important because it shows that you’ve looked at the job ad, and that you’ve added even that tiny element of tailoring or customisation to make sure you’ve got the job title right.”
And it also serves another purpose: “It gives you the ability to tie it back to your writing.”
For example, including the job title ‘part-time data analyst’ would mean you could speak to both the part-time aspect and the data analyst aspect of the job.
“It gives you the opportunity to then say in the cover letter that you’re looking for part-time work, and which days you’re available - it just adds connection through the letter.”
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