A cover letter has to be very striking, compelling and engaging, so that you capture your audience’s attention. You must set yourself apart from the others competing for a limited number of executive placements.
As well, the formatting should be identical to what you’ve used in your resume, such as the font choice, header, and general style. Every piece of online or print collateral must reinforce the personal brand you are building for yourself in your career.
Always include these three elements in a cover letter in order to make a memorable impression on hiring influencers:
- A name. If you’re replying to an advert, use your ingenuity (with help from LinkedIn or a Google search) to obtain the hiring manager’s name. Never address a cover letter to “Sir or Madam” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” This detail alone puts you above many who won’t make the effort to personalize their cover letter.
- A solution. Without duplicating the verbiage from your resume, give them a reason to employ you. Extract some of the keywords from the advertisement so you match the language and show how you will solve their particular problem.
- A call to action. Wrap up the cover letter with a powerful and resonating proposal to move forward, such as, “I am eager to interview with you, as I know I am the perfect candidate. When may we meet?” Choose a very proactive and enticing statement that will hopefully awaken their interest.
Your cover letter and resume work together to entice a hiring influencer to schedule you for an interview. These three ingredients will help them see you are the right choice for the job.
P.S. There are different types of cover letters for different situations. See The Five Types of Cover Letters That Work for more details.