While most people focus solely on their resumes, they tend to forget an equally as important piece of the puzzle—cover letters. Your resume details your background, but your cover letter is the first chance you have to make a lasting impression on hiring managers. Cover letters introduce you by giving a brief snap-shot of your background and what you bring to the table. They will set the tone for your resume and act as a stepping stone for hiring managers in getting to know more about you. Here are some tips for a successful cover letter:
Don’t: Detail your background in depth or reference many examples from your work history.
Do: Give an overview of what you have to offer and why you will be an asset to a company. Many people think that detailing their experience on cover letters will help them get more interviews. This actually deters hiring managers from reading your resume because they feel they already know enough about you from your cover letter.
Don’t: Mention any personal details, family circumstances, or personal hobbies.
Do: Talk about your unique professional qualifications for the job and why you are a good fit for the company. Hiring managers do not place an emphasis on your personal life, family circumstances, or hobbies when they consider who is or isn’t qualified for a job. They look at skills and achievements you have that can be useful to their company.
Don’t: Address why you were fired from a job or left a job.
Do: If you were fired from a job, voluntarily left, or just plain didn’t enjoy the job anymore, keep it to yourself. At this point, it is not wise to link your name to anything negative. Only focus on the positives and what will be of value in a new job.