6 Keys to Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

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Let’s stop with the generic cover letters! A great cover letter should help you stand out. When written poorly, a cover letter can make a promising candidate seem like an uncreative, uninteresting boiler-plate copy.

There is no shortage of tips on how to write a great cover letter. That said, if you focus on these key essentials you will have a leg up on the competition and get an opportunity to land the job you want.

Open Strong

Avoid using intros like I’m applying for X job” — it’s a waste of text! Instead lead with a strong opening that highlights your enthusiasm for the role, and how your unique skills make you the perfect fit. If you happen to personally know someone at the company find a way to mention them in the opening as well.

Keep It Short

Skip lengthy exposition or restating info that is on your resume and jump right into something that catches the readers attention. Less is more. Keep it to a half-page with three paragraphs or less. Respect the reader’s time and increase the likelihood that it will be read.

Skip the Generic

If you don’t know the person’s name you should be addressing, then don’t address anyone. Instead, go straight to the body of your cover letter and skip the generic intros like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern.” That said, given the world of social media today, there’s no excuse for not finding the name of the hiring manager.

Do your Research

Before sending off your resume, do your homework. Get to know as much as possible about the company you are applying to, its history, its products, its goals, and its culture. If you know who the hiring manager is, research that person as well as the company, and find out as much as possible. Find unique characteristics that you can relate to and use them as a way to connect personally in your cover letter to stand out and differentiate yourself.

Be Conversational

Use your unique voice. Write using words and phrases that you would actually say if you were speaking to the reader face to face. Before you hit send, ask yourself, “Does this sound like me?” If the answer is “No,” start over!

Close Even Stronger

Explain how your unique background, experience, or worldview make you a perfect fit for the job. It should be something that makes you stand apart from the rest. That’s key. That’s the closer. And it can be done in one (two at most) sentences. If it goes longer, it’s not strong enough.

All of our software development students also receive training through our Career Coaching Curriculum. This article is meant to give a glimpse into the training students receive to polish their online presence and be successful in their job search.

If you would like to level up your own job search we also offer Career Coaching Curriculum in a 1-week stand-alone course. Learn More

Originally published at https://www.codefellows.org.

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