For most job seekers the cover letter has become an after thought that is written in a rush, right before they submit their application. However, writing a cover letter is your chance to separate yourself from the other job applicants and their resumes while conveying why they should give you an interview. So don't just write a cover letter and send it while crossing your fingers that it might get read.
Instead, be proactive and make sure it explains why you would be a good fit based on the job description provided. Most companies list their executive team and their positions and contact information. If not, Google is your friend in this situation.
Almost always will you find contact information of recruiters on their LinkedIn accounts, Twitters, or personal websites.
5 Things to keep in mind before you start writing:
1. Cover letters are all about what you have to offer
2. Writing cover letters allow you to show your personality & intangibles
3. Cover letters aren't essays. Keep them concise, clear, and to the point
4. Don't undersell yourself
5. Show that you have interest in the specific job and done research on the company
Here's a breakdown of each section:
The introduction is where you grab the attention of your reader and give a brief overview of why you're applying. Show the recruiter that your cover letter isn't just a copy of a previously written cover letter with just the company names changed. In just a few sentences, you want to cover
1. The position you are applying for
2. Why you're interestd in the job and thus applying
3. Why your experience makes you a great fit for both the position and company
Put yourself in the recruiter or hiring manager's shoes. Why should they give you an interview? What is in your cover letter that won't be on your resume and will be worthwhile for them to know?
This the chance for you to show off your skills and personality. What do you have to offer for the company? What sets you apart from someone else who might have the same set of skills? Keep in mind that in your body paragraphs you aren't regurgitating what you have on your resume. Provide a brief introduction of yourself and how your qualities make you the best candidate. You can do this by listing 2-3 concrete ideas that you can bring to the company. What this shows: you are proactive; you are going to dive right into work upon hiring; and your creativity.
All the while, feel free to mention an experience or two that proves you have whatever skills and/or ideas you are pitching. Be sure to mention relevant words to the job you are applying to. In addition, use power words such as engineered, generated, transformed, revamped, cultivated, etc. to better your
cover letter. Every word makes a difference!
Conclude your cover letter thanking them for the consideration and how you can't wait to take the next steps in the process.
Asking for feedback is a great way because this will persuade the reader to respond back. Saying that you will follow up with them or look forward to hearing back and discussing more of your skills is also a great way to state that you have confidence in securing an interview.
And of course, after you have written your attention grabbing cover letter, be sure to thank whoever is reading your cover letter for their time. Recruiters are busy, and a little thank you can go a long way.