by Quiana Eastland & Krista Kane
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with Cover Letters. They force you to be vulnerable and can be very intimidating. How many times have you heard cover letters aren’t required? Or have you seen that a cover letter must be submitted to be considered for this position?
If cover letters weren’t required, why would we ever submit one? This is an opportunity to speak highly of yourself and give kudos where credit is due. It is an opportunity to highlight your key accomplishments to the employer. But, it’s not easy to do. We’d like to share some helpful tips on when and how to write a cover letter.
First, you should always have a cover letter ready just as you would need to have a resume. A cover letter is a reflection of the skills and the specific job that you are applying for and why you would be a good fit. Pay close attention to job announcements that require or ask for a cover letter. This is your opportunity to shine and should use it to your advantage.
Here are 10 tips that can make writing your cover letter easier:
- Address the letter to the hiring manager, POC of the job announcement, Human Resource Department or someone you have spoken to at that company regarding this job
- The goal is to stay within 300-500 words
- List 2-3 reasons why you are a strong candidate using the APT format (assert, prove, tieback)
- Use specific experiences that tie you to this job and why you are a good fit
- Align the company’s mission statement to your core values and why you want to work for them
- Use adjectives!
- Be personable and professional
- Refrain from being redundant and using the same material from your resume
- Avoid dry or generic information.
- Know when to be formal or creative
- If you are applying to a corporate role, formal is fine. If you are applying to a small business, you are free to be more creative
- Use the job description to tell your story
- Discuss any gaps in your work history
- This is a perfect opportunity to disclose if you’re a Military Spouse
- Use this to highlight your skills and what skills you’ve picked up being a MilSpouse
- Are you relocating?
- If so, state that
- It’s important, to be honest, and upfront about your circumstance
- Have fun writing about you!
Whew! I hope I didn’t lose you. Did you get all of that? That wasn’t too bad, was it? The idea is to keep it simple and straight to the point. Highlight what you need to say, be fun and creative without sounding like a robot and most importantly be professional. If that still seems overwhelming NexGenMilSpouse has a great example that you can view here.
An example of a cover letter:
Dear Mrs. Hill,
I am writing to you in regard to the open position at VirtForce as an Administrative Coordinator. Susie Carmichael is a great colleague of mine, and suggested that I reach out to you directly about this position. Susie believes that my diverse background and education provides me with the necessary skills to be a successful candidate for this position.
In my 12 years of experience in various administrative roles, I’ve had to build numerous relationships with clients of all types of backgrounds. In doing so, I’ve learned to talk, walk, and write with a smile. In the role of an administrator, I am the first point of contact for building that client relationship, even on a bad day I still have to smile. It looks like that is something you are looking for in this role and I’m glad to say I’ve got it. Additionally, I’m an optimist so I always see the glass half full rather than half empty. Being an optimist is a blessing and a curse as I can oftentimes be blinded by not seeing things rationally. However, I’ve been in roles that have allowed me to experience great leadership and work with people who are willing to show me the way.
Furthermore, as a MilSpouse I’ve had to quickly adapt to being flexible and using my transferable skills to help me build, sustain and obtain new opportunities. I see that you are looking for someone who has the ability to use their voice to network with potential partners of VirtForce. Being a MilSpouse has helped me truly develop that skill and I’d be happy to use this while networking with prospective partners.
Although, I have a 3-year employment gap I’ve been actively involved in coordinating the schedules of myself and 4 children while my husband has been deployed or away at training. In addition to scheduling doctor appointments, PTA meetings, sport’s practice, piano and swim lessons I’ve also managed to have two out of three kiddos make honor roll this year! All in all, I believe I have the ability to manage your schedule, build relationships and coordinate events with potential partners as requested in the job announcement.
I would like to reiterate that I am flexible, open to other opportunities as you see fit and willing to grow within your company. I know that VirtForce is looking to hire someone who is willing to distribute their talent and turn it into a virtual career path. I am excited to see what this can turn into.
I would like the opportunity to speak with you regarding this position and to discuss other opportunities you may feel the best fit for me.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.