You have to customise each cover letter you send out, not only in content, but addressed to the specific individual who is responsible for hiring instead of “Dear Sir/Madam.” Generic letters will not impress.
The language or phrases that you use can either help your letter be read or help it to be moved into the rejection pile. It’s important that you don’t use anything that may make you sound desperate or not professional. Read your first draft objectively and also read it as if you were an employer, would you give yourself an interview?
Why you’re writing
Make sure that you address why you are writing to them i.e. replying to an advertised job, name the position title and where you saw the ad, but don’t waste valuable space doing so in your opening paragraph. Instead, accomplish the same thing by positioning the information in the subject line “regarding” space or the subject title of the email.
The cover letter gives you the opportunity to briefly show why you are an ideal candidate by highlighting your skills and achievements that relate to the job role. That alone is not enough, you must back them up specific brief examples. Never go into detail though, choose a few good examples to use to gain an employer’s attention. You leave the rest of the selling for the actual interview.
Some candidates don’t realise that employers don’t just want anyone working for them. Ideally they want candidates that WANT to work for them e.g. share the same values/ethos, their community work etc. Just giving praise won’t work. Show that you have a good positive reason of why it’s that company you want to work for.
When closing your letter, reprise your enthusiasm, confirm your desire for an interview, and state what the next step will be. Preferably, you use an action close, telling the recipient that you will follow up and when that will happen. In some instances, you will have to wait for them to contact you.
Check, Check & Check Again
One of the most common faults of a good cover letter is poor grammar or spelling mistakes. Either they relied on their spell-checker or didn’t even bother to properly check it before sending it off. You should always read what you have developed. If you can’t see any mistakes, then ask someone who you trust to check it. Don’t let something so simple cost you the opportunity of an interview.