Applicants often treat the cover letter as one extra ‘optional’ document that they add to their resume. This is wrong. Studies have shown that some recruiters actually read the cover letters first before even going through your resume. Do you think your cover letter is exciting enough to make the recruiter look at your resume?
The fact that you don’t know which of the two documents the recruiter will look at first is enough motivation to make both feet strong. Your cover letter must be as strong, if not stronger, as your resume. It is your first impression, and it is best you present yourself as the best candidate for the job using the cover.
So here are a few tips to help you prepare a strong Cover Letter.
Address the hiring Manager by name;
Never use “dear sir/madam”. It is the laziest thing you’ll ever do as an applicant. Besides, is there anyone you know who would want to be addressed as “madam”? Another phrase you should avoid is “to whom it may concern”. Do some research and find out what the hiring manager’s name is.
Use first names;
This is where you don’t want to use full names. This is also more appropriate for a casual workplace. While first names will give a personal touch and make for a more comfortable correspondence, full names will prevent confusion about who your letter is truly addressed to.
Address your Cover letter to the “hiring manager” where the manager’s name can truly not be found.
A survey published by Randstad found that 40% of employers actually prefer to be addressed that way.
Do not use “Miss or Mrs.”;
This is often a problem for most applicants. Avoid them like a plague. They’re also very dated. To play safe, write the full name of the female hiring manager. If you do not know the name, go with Ms. or use a professional title like Dr. or Prof.
Triple Check your spelling;
There’s nothing employers hate more than spelling errors. Go over your Cover Letter over and again. If you need to, get someone to read it. This is even more serious when it has to do with sensitive information like the company’s name or the name of the hiring manager. Triple check before you send.
Using “dear” is okay;
If you do feel it’s no longer trendy, you can take it out and use “hello” or “hi” instead. The key thing to note is to avoid salutations that are way too informal. “Hey” is a deal breaker.