Author, speaker and columnist Vicki Salemi visited with Studio 512 about her top tips for cover letters for job seekers.
Vicki says, “You should think of your cover letter like an ‘elevator pitch.’ It should succinctly and immediately highlight your strengths and assets. It should also be short: half a page or less is just fine.
“Here’s a great hack: your cover letter can mirror the Executive Summary on the top of your resume. Even though it may seem redundant, when I reviewed resumes I spent less than 5 seconds — more like 2 to 3 — on each resume, so if I even looked at the cover letter, it was good to have repetition to catch my attention.
“When thinking about the structure of your cover letter, consider it in three parts. The first sentence should indicate the title of the role you’re pursuing. Start a new paragraph and tell the company/hiring manager why you’re an asset. This is a great time to have the job description pulled up in front of you, so you can tie your cover letter back to the role/the company culture. The second paragraph is also a great time to outline your accomplishments and any distinguishing factors that set you apart from other candidates. In the last paragraph, thank them for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing from them soon.
“You should also always include your name, email address and phone number! It may feel you’re repeating information, but when recruiters and hiring managers email your resume and cover letter, they may get separated.
“Tweak the cover letter for each job you’re pursuing (it should only take a few minutes) the same way you should tweak your resume for each job you apply to. It may feel annoying, but it’s part of the process. And yes, you should always send a cover letter. Companies don’t always read them, but consider it an extra opportunity for you to shine!”
Vicki Salemi is a nationally recognized career expert for Monster. She’s an author, career coach, speaker, columnist, spokesperson and consultant. Vicki gives insight from her 15 years of experience in corporate recruiting and human resources, and she is passionate about empowering people in their careers. Learn more about the resources and tips Vicki offers at VickiSalemi.com.