What employers want in a cover letter

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

How important is a cover letter to employers?

First impressions are essential when applying for a new job, and a cover letter is where employers will first connect with you. A cover letter is a great way to demonstrate to employers that you have taken the time and made a unique effort to apply for the position. Usually standing at one page long, the challenge for most applicants is making every word count.

So the question is, how can you stand out from the crowd in only four or five paragraphs?

What should you include in the cover letter?

A good cover letter should include a brief, but healthy, introduction with all of the basic information – your qualifications, skills, and what you will bring to the position. But what else do employers want in a cover letter? How can you grab the employer’s attention and convince them to read your resume?

Names matter

Addressing the cover letter by the hiring manager’s name can be an easy way to show that you have researched the company. Try to avoid beginning the cover letter with bland titles such as “To whom it may concern,” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” These examples are impersonal and aloof. If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name online, don’t be afraid to call the company and ask for the contact person. Every little detail makes a difference.

Complement your resume

Your cover letter is not a summary or short version of your resume. It should highlight your most relevant skills, training, and experience to the job. The cover letter is an opportunity to express how you will approach the responsibilities and expand upon why you are be the best fit for the company. Emphasise explicit links between the job role and your skills, rather than making the employer search for connections.

Make a personalised letter

Cover letters that show the candidate has researched the company and taken the time to understand the job advert are proof of care and attention. Tailoring a cover letter for employers can be a subtle art. Take a moment to read the About Us page of the company and discover a way to align your goals with their mission and values. Another way to indicate your familiarity is to offer a positive opinion about the trajectory of the company and connect it with what you can offer.

Show genuine excitement and enthusiasm

Use the cover letter as an opportunity to express your passion for the particular role or industry. Employers are looking for someone who will be proud of their work and instil life into the brand.

Cover letters start a conversation with employers and can be the difference between an interview and a rejection. Don’t throw away the chance to make a lasting first impression by regurgitating your resume. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to impressing employers with your cover letter. If you are not already connected with EPIC, contact us to find out how we can help get you job ready.