While your resume should highlight your most important work experiences and skills, a cover letter should be extremely focused on the position you are applying to and show off your personality.
When it comes to applying for a job, you need to target your resume to fit the job opening, but that means maybe adjusting one or two skills or highlighting one work experience more than the others. But that is not the case for cover letters. Here are some tips for you to keep in mind:
1- Opt-in to the optional cover letter
Some postings will give the candidate the option of not sending a cover letter. Don’t take the bait! Always opt-in. Think of a cover letter as the first real opportunity to show them why you are the right fit for the position.
2- Include references
If someone recommended you for the job, make sure you include that information in your cover letter. And preferably include it in the first line. Also, it is a good idea to add a line or two mentioning any anecdote you might have about working with that person. Needless to say, only include good and positive things!
3- Outline your key points
A cover letter needs to be specific for the job you are applying to. You use your resume for several openings, but you can’t use the same cover letter for two applications. You need to customize the letter outlining the key points that are relevant to the position. Organize the information by starting with an attractive introduction, a story or two about relevant accomplishments, why you consider you are the perfect candidate and a conclusion.
4- Create an attention-grabbing opening line
HR Managers usually receive tons of applications for a single position and they don’t have the time to read them all. Make sure you start your cover letter with an attention-grabbing opening so that they want to keep reading. Craft an opening line carefully.