It’s halfway through spring term, and for many students that means graduation is just around the corner. While scrambling to apply for jobs, the month before graduation can be very stressful. Nearly every job you apply for will require a cover letter, and in most cases this is your first impression on a potential employer. Below are five tips to make your cover letter stand out.
Incorrect salutation is the most common mistake made on cover letters. If you don’t know who will be reading your letter, do some research. Call the company and ask who is in charge of hiring or look at the company website. Do not use “to whom it may concern.” This salutation is vague and impersonal.
Include Key Words
Nearly every job posting will include what they are looking for in a potential candidate. Descriptive words are often used, and it is beneficial to write these down to use in your cover letter. Additionally, visit the company website and take note of a few key words included in the mission statement or in the company description. By including these words in your cover letter, you will stand out and show that you did your research.
The person reading your letter is very busy, and they will not want to spend their time mulling through a page of writing. Be very concise and get your points across quickly. Include important information right off the bat to grab the reader’s attention.
Confidence is crucial. You need to convey to the reader through your writing why you are the best fit for the position. Don’t be afraid to be bold and elaborate on your strengths; it will catch the employer’s attention.
Focus on Your Strengths
The cover letter is where you have the opportunity to express yourself, so focus on your strengths. Shy away from generic responses. The employer doesn’t want to know that you enjoy working with people, and you are a team player. Showcase your abilities by being descriptive and hone in on your own unique skills.
Carlee Myers is an account supervisor on the Fred Meyer team. She is a senior at the University of Oregon, graduating in spring 2015 with a degree in public relations. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Carlee hopes to return to the city after graduation and pursue a career in community relations or hospitality PR.