For many job seekers, writing a cover letter is the most painful part of beginning any job search. As a result, many job seekers skimp on the cover letter or make sloppy mistakes in their cover letters that hurt their chances of getting the job.
Your cover letter is half of your application, and therefore, a valuable asset. A well-written cover letter can get you the job you're looking for, so it's worth the time it takes to write it well.
Begin Your Cover Letter With A Line That No One Else Would Write
The first line of your cover letter should be memorable and interesting, enticing, and attention grabbing. The person who reviews your application should, upon reading the first line, realize that that you are a distinguished candidate who deserves special attention. If you're searching for inspiration, try perusing famous speeches. Writing a great first sentence can be very hard. If you find yourself stuck on the first line, write the rest of the cover letter first, and come back to it later.
Write Fluidly, Beautifully
Write sentences that are structurally varied (don't start every sentence with "I" or "The") and use creative, uncommon adjectives. There should be no typos whatsoever. Have a friend read your cover letter to look for typos, even after you have looked over your cover letter several times personally.
Cover Letter Structure
A cover letter is a type of professional correspondence that should follow a specific format. Hopefully you know the name and address of the person that you're writing to. If so, that information should be included in the header of the letter. The end of your letter should include an official closing, your name, and some contact information. For some specific examples, take a look at this comprehensive guide posted on the Purdue University Online Writing Lab website.
Cover Letter Content
This might go without saying, but your cover letter needs to address a few key points. Namely, state which job you're applying for, what your qualifications are, and give your contact information. You should also include a few lines that talk about why you're interested in this position, and why you think you'd be a good fit for the company.
Keep It To One Page
Many experts will tell you that your cover letter should be limited to one page. This is true, if you only have one page worth of stuff to say. If your experience spans years and continents, and you think you can write a cover letter that reads like an epic novel, then by all means, feel free to write more than one page.
Just remember that the most profound messages can be delivered in just a few words - think of the Gettysburg address - and in this context, brevity is rewarded. The person reviewing your application may be sitting in front of a stack of 100 such applications, and that person will not be reading every word of every cover letter. It would simply take too long. So unless you're confident in your ability to hold someone's attention with the awesome power of your cover letter, keep it to one page.
Tailor Your Cover Letter To The Recipient
If you're applying to forty, fifty or more positions, writing a totally unique cover letter for each application just isn't realistic. Write a cover letter that easily applies to majority of the positions that you're applying for, then change little parts of your cover letter for each application. Emphasize different aspects of your previous job experiences for different applications, depending on the expectations of the company. Be careful not to leave in any references to any other jobs you've applied for, and change the date to reflect the current date.
You may find it worthwhile to write a completely unique cover letter for a job if you have a particular interest in that position, or feel like you're an especially good fit for that company. Tailored cover letters are preferred by most companies and may earn you preferential consideration.
If you have questions about job interview techniques or cover letter for freelancers, contact Artisan Talent for more information. We know the business and we can help.