It is a fact that you will get a lot of ton of advice about resumes and cover letters over the years. Undoubtedly, at some point you will hear that cover letters are a waste of time because no one reads them. I am here to tell you that is not the case.
Agreed, it is a pain to create each one individually and at times it feels like you have nothing of value to say. But remember, hiring managers are looking for the right person for their organization and that is conveyed in a cover letter more so than anywhere else in the application documents. A resume is a list of duties, skills and abilities and provided you meet the criteria of the position it is the cover letter that will get you noticed and is the best chance you have to stand out from the crowd.
So where do you begin to create a smashing cover letter? It is not by saying “As you can see from my resume blah, blah, blah”. Instead you want to give them an insight into who you are as a person. But be sure to make the information relevant. Start by looking at their website. Determine the type of people they like to employ. Are they looking for creative types, risk takers, analytical bean counters? Try to link your personal traits to their company culture. However, a word of caution…be honest. If you present yourself as a creative type but your best ideas are recycled work of others, then you will soon be found out.
A cover letter is a great space to convey your soft skill set. Go ahead and spot light the lead you had on a project and the outcomes you accomplished. Talk about your love of public speaking. Discuss your participation in the student senate and how your team worked together to help promote a major change on campus.
Of course, the main reason to write a cover letter is to express why you are interested in working for their company. Try to envision yourself in the job you are applying to and then explain in your cover letter why you feel you would add value in that capacity.
On a final note, if you are struggling to write a cover letter take a minute and assess if you are really interested in the position. Remember that where you work is ultimately your decision. Do not sell your soul to a company if you suspect you will not enjoy what you will be doing or the environment you will be working in. You will spend a lot of time at work. Look for a position that you feel will be engaging and enjoyable in an environment that will make you comfortable.