Your resume is impeccable. It lists all of your impressive accomplishments – graduating with honors, numerous intensive internships, ample relevant skills – and you do not think that any employer could possibly turn you down. Only, they do. After dropping off what seems like hundreds of copies of your resume to companies you are interested in, you do not receive a single call back. But have no fear, the culprit may not be your qualifications – it could be your cover letter. And luckily, this is an easy fix.
Crafting a good cover letter is an essential skill that all recent graduates must learn. This is because many hiring managers look through lots of resumes every day in order to narrow down the field for the open position. After a while of leafing through resume after resume, the whole task can be tedious. After all, it can be hard to decide which applicants would be the best fit for the company when you’re staring at a list of bullet points. Instead, to get a better idea of the applicant’s personality and qualifications, hiring managers will first read over the cover letters that applicants submit with their resumes. The way a cover letter is written speaks volumes about the applicant and a good cover letter will warrant a closer look at the applicant’s resume whereas a poorly written cover letter will be immediately tossed. This means that even if your resume is perfect, your entire application will be thrown away if your cover letter is less than desirable.
The first thing you need to do with your cover letter is to find out the name of the hiring manager and address the letter to that person. If you cannot find out the manager’s name, simply write the company’s name or “to whom it may concern.” This way, your letter will seem more personalized. Next, craft a cover letter that will make the hiring manager want to read your resume. This means that instead of simply reiterating what your resume says, elaborate on the qualifications that you possess which make you a great candidate for the position. For example, if you are applying to work as a journalist, elaborate on your experience in the school newspaper or magazine and what you learned. Also explain how you could benefit the company. After all, the hiring manager is ultimately looking for someone who will help the business, so if you explain the reasons why your experience will be valuable, you will encourage the manager to look further into your application.