I hear many students cry out « How on earth do I put together a cover letter ?? »
First of all, don’t panic! Basically, just think of them as a shortened version of your resume which tests your writing skills and also explains why they should hire you and why you’re the right person for the job.
Having said that, a potential employer will be reading quite a few – so you have to make it stand out!
How do you do that then..? By slipping in smart words that will catch their eyes! It’s all about the “keywords”
Here are some great tips that I have researched for you with some punchy and positive keywords everyone could put in a cover letter.
1. Descriptive adjectives.
As well as including the right words, I would also recommend of course, understanding the layout and how you should put together the first, second and third paragraphs. Think of it simply like this –
1st one should be about the employer
2nd one about you
3rd about the company.
Try and also avoid using too many common clichés.” Rather than saying ‘I’m organized,’ or ‘I’m responsible,’” as people would expect you to be like that anyway…find a way to rephrase those overused words.
So, for example, instead of saying “I’m a hard worker,” say “I have an enormous capacity for work” (I have heard of someone writing that at the start of their cover letter and being hired instantly).
When directly talking about the employer, these positive keywords would be great: admire, inspired by and listen. When describing yourself, these are also good : enthusiastic, passionate and integrity.
2. Important skills to highlight.
Of course keywords change depending on the position you’re applying for. However, for a general cover letter, the following words connote key skills that work for “all resumes with 0-4 years of experience.” The best thing to do is start to note down the keywords from job postings and make a Word Cloud. You will see that the same competencies (which are therefore your keywords) will begin to pop out for your desired profession.
- Administrative Skills
- Communication Skills
- Computer Skills
- Customer Relations
- Microsoft Office and Outlook
- Problem Solving Skills
- Resolve Customer Issues
3. Vital active verbs
Keywords are crucial to get past an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) – otherwise known as the black hole you submit your resume into online,
Again, one of the easiest things you can do is mirror the job description in your wording.
Highlight the skills and experiences they need by referencing the job description and inserting the exact words into your letter. If they’re hiring a valuation manager with experience in calculating intangible assets, ensure you put ‘intangible assets.
Aside from that, I would also recommend powerful verbs that “pack a punch.”
I hope this has given you some ideas to start putting pen to paper…once you get going, it will just start to flow – I promise!
If you need some help checking it though, just e-mail me and we can go through it together..