5 tips for a compelling cover letter

Apr 20, 2015 | Article

If your generic cover letter is looking a little lackluster, it might be time to spruce it up with these five tips.

Even before they look at your resume, most hiring managers will skim through your cover letter. This document is your first chance to make a positive impression on the person that will ultimately decide whether you get the job of your dreams, so it's in your best interest to make it pithy and compelling.

If your generic cover letter is looking a little lackluster, it might be time to spruce it up with these five tips.

1. Skip the generic greeting
It's best practice to address your cover letter to the person who will be reviewing it. However, sometimes you might not know whether to address it to human resources, a manager or someone else within the company. In these situations, it's best to forego a generic greeting such as "To whom it may concern" and just skip the greeting altogether. Address the letter to the company then get right into the text.

Keep your cover letter to one page.

2. Keep it short and simple
Most managers will only spend around a minute skimming through your cover letter, and surveys show that the larger the company, the less time hiring managers dedicate to these documents. That said, it's essential that you keep your cover letter short and sweet. Stick to one page and use basic formatting only - no need for frilly fonts or pictures.

"Don't just regurgitate information from your resume."

3. Present new information
One common mistake that job seekers make is repeating the information from their resumes in their cover letters. While this may be an easy solution if you're not sure what to write, it's not making the most of the document. Instead, use your cover letter to show your personality, detail characteristics not listed on your resume or explain why you're a perfect fit for the job.

4. Do your homework
If you're applying to a number of jobs, it might seem easy to use the same cover letter for all of them. However, a stand-out cover letter contains information specific to the position and company you're applying to. Be sure to research the business before you apply and show that you've done your homework by including detailed references throughout your cover letter.

5. Send it as a PDF
As part of Beacon Hill's consulting services, we ask that you submit your cover letter and resume as Word documents so that we can assist with changes and increase your chances of placement. However, when submitting your resume directly to an employer, we advise that you send it as a PDF. This will ensure that the recipient can open it regardless of what processing system they use. Plus, the formatting of a PDF will always look exactly the way you intended.

This content brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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