While this might be an unpopular opinion, I have realized over time that I enjoy having a job. I am sure that the nine to five life can become repetitive and gruesome, but in my experience so far in the professional world, I love working hard and being an asset to the company I work for.
One thing I do not enjoy about the “adult life” is the application process. After finally mastering my resume in multiple workshops and classes, I was faced with having to now master the dreaded cover letter. I have applied for over 30 jobs or internships in my college career and, for almost every single one, had to also include a cover letter relative to the role I was applying for. In hopes of helping even one girl avoid the mistakes and stresses I experienced, here are my five best tips for making your cover letter stand out.
1) Address the letter to a specific person
Always attempt to start your cover letter by addressing it to a specific person. In this day and age when a recruiter could be receiving hundreds of cover letters and applications, you want to stand out. Skip the “To Whom It May Concern” and do some digging to find out whose hands this letter will actually be landing in. If worse comes to worst and you cannot figure out who the letter will be going to, simply address it “Dear Hiring Manager,”.
2) Research the company
Know the company you want to work for. For some of you, this will be the job that is jump-starting your career. You should be passionate about it. Know not only about your specific role, but the company culture, its commitment to corporate social responsibility, and opportunities for growth. Make sure to stress how excited you would be for an opportunity to work with the company. You should also include a specific detail about something you read to show that you really did your homework.
3) Pay attention to the job description
When writing a cover letter, reference the job description and buzz words they might have used like “leader,” “organized,” “team player,” and include examples of those in your letter. If a company is looking for an employee with an attention to detail, do not be afraid to make it known that you have done that in a previous position. Customize your cover letter to the role, as well as to the company.
4) Highlight your accomplishments and leadership skills
Do not shy away from some humble bragging about yourself, but be sure tie it back to how it makes you an asset to the company. The hiring manager already has your resume with work, club, and volunteer experience, but now is your chance to highlight an award, competition, or accomplishment not on the resume. If you are applying for a social media job, include the time that you were elected as social media chair of your club by your peers. Not only will you demonstrate the respect your peers have for you, but also share an achievement.
5) Include a testimonial
This is something I would have never thought to do before I had a professor suggest it to me. Ask a previous boss, professor, or even someone who just thinks very highly of you (but not your mom, she tends to be a bit biased) to give a one-liner in regards to your past job performance. This can sometimes be more effective than a paragraph of how your responsibilities in your past role apply to the current one you are applying for.
Above all maintain a professional tone, check for spelling and grammar a billion times, and be yourself. This is an opportunity to put your best foot forward without the stress of a face-to-face interview–enjoy it. Best of luck in your future endeavors.
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