Finding the Best Ways to Write Cover Letters that Include the Right Information
There is much debate regarding the best ways to write cover letters. There are dozens of websites that provide advice on how to structure your cover letter to gain the right amount of attention. While these advice columns mean well, they cannot provide specific details that are necessary to create a personal look for your application. You want to make it look like you created your cover letter specifically for the job in which you are applying instead of creating a generic letter that you will use for every job you apply to. This is a turnoff to employers because it makes it obvious that you did not put a great deal of time and attention into your application.
Doing Your Research Before You Write
Cover letters should address the information given in the job listing. Read through all of the job requirements and take notes on how your personal experience applies to each. You will want to draw attention to this information in your cover letter rather than focusing on elements that were not asked for. This is a crucial part of your employment applications. Do not repeat the items listed in your resume as this will be seen as a waste of time. Instead, provide more details for these items and add context to your job listings so readers can easily see how your experience fits what they are looking for.
You also want to avoid covering basic information about the company that seems obvious or trivial. One of the best ways to write cover letters is to read up on the company you are applying with before you start writing. Read up on the company’s mission statement and the specific applications you would be working on if you were to join their ranks. Describe your assets as they apply to these unique factors so it is obvious to your employer that you have taken the time to learn about their company. This will make it look like you will do high quality work if you are hired.
No matter what details you choose to include in your cover letter, you want to present them in a positive light. This is not the place to discuss an argument you had with your previous employer or why you have been unemployed for quite a long time. Instead you want to focus on your positive attributes. Talk about how you can grow to be a strong asset for the company and the unique skill set you can bring to the job. You want to use your cover letter to make yourself sound appealing rather than bringing up controversial items that could make employers nervous.
Items to Avoid
Some people consider it essential to list references in a cover letter. Others use this as an opportunity to name drop if they happen to know someone in the company. This is not recommended in most cases. If you are seeking out a job because a specific person in the company is speaking on your behalf, it may be appropriate to include this information. However, name dropping without this person’s consent can lead to an awkward or embarrassing situation for both of you. You cannot count on this person giving out the recommendation you hoped for if they are caught off guard. Furthermore, you may not be aware of the relationship this person has with their employer. If they are not liked and trusted, their recommendation may actually hurt your application. The best ways to write cover letters often recommend that you leave names and contact information out of a cover letter, and only provide this information if the employer specifically asks for it.