6 Tips for a Better Cover Letter

Does anyone really read a cover letter anymore? Isn’t the resume the be-all of a job search?

Answers: Yes, cover letters matter – big time – and no, resumes aren’t everything.

The reason covers letters are so important is because they’re often unavoidable when it comes to reading them. Thanks to e-mail, many job candidates often send in a resume in an e-mail message, with the cover letter taking up the body of the e-mail (with the resume as attachment).

Read below for some tips on how to improve your cover letter in the today’s world of e-mail.

  1. Watch that subject line. Don’t leave it blank. Instead, keep it short and clear: “Experienced Forklift Operator Applying for Open Forklift Operator Position.”
  2. Get to the point quickly. There’s really no need to be clever. In the beginning of the body of your cover letter – right after your salutation – simply state that you’re applying for XYZ job. As in “Dear Mr. Smith: I’m applying for your open position as a forklift operator.”
  3. Then you’ll want to put in a good word for yourself. Talk about your years of experience, the skills you have, what you’re doing now, and why you’re applying for the position – what about it intrigues you?
  4. Write in short, clear sentences. No need for 50-cent words. Write in the active tense.
  5. Make sure you follow the rules. It’s always best to send your cover letter/resume to the person who can actually hire you. And you should do so if you can find that person’s contact information. But if the job posting require you to send the documents to the human resources department, you must do so. So you’ll end up sending two e-mails to the company. In your e-mail to the hiring manager, right after you say what job you’re applying for, say something along the lines of:: “Per the instructions on your job posting, I have also sent my application to your company’s human resources department.”
  6. When sending your application directly to the hiring manager, always – and we mean always! – end your cover letter with a statement that you will contact the hiring manger in a few days to see about setting up an interview. Then do so! What do you say? Say you sent in your resume and you a) wonder if the hiring manager has any questions and b) you’d like to set up an interview. Don’t worry: the hiring manager will say either that he’ll be calling folks for an interview shortly or he’ll set up an interview right then.

If you’d like more tips on how to create a great cover letter, contact the recruiters at the Opti Staffing Group. We help people in Anchorage, Lake Oswego, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, and Chicago find great temporary and even direct-hire opportunities with some of these cities’ top employers, and we’d love to help you, too. Contact us today.

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