Cover letters have become a crucial part of any job application process for applicants to express interest in positions and organizations. The everchanging hiring requirements and information management policies make it difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. However, whether the job application requires a cover letter or not, you should always write one. The only reason that you would not write a cover letter is if the organization has explicitly asked you not to write a cover letter in the job application advertisement. Here are a few tips on writing a cover letter that stands out.

1. Do your homework

Customizing your cover letter to the job description that the organization has put out and using the same vocabulary and skills that are highlighted is a great idea, but not enough. Show the recruiter that you have researched the organization that you’re willing to join in your cover letter. You can do that by reviewing the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals and make sure that you connect some of them to your personal aspirations and career purpose. Review the organizational structure to understand what departments and individuals you’ll be working with, that will help you address the right people in the letter. Make remarks regarding cross-departmental collaborations. If you do that successfully the recruiter should think that you belong in their organization.

2. Do not repeat your resume

Your cover letter is the place to market yourself, do not repeat what the recruiter had already learnt about you from your resume. You should highlight your most unique experiences that they need to know about, like your story and why you want to get this specific job at their organization.

3. Subtly highlight experiences that matches the required skills

Create a two columns table, list the job requirements and match them with your experiences. These experiences will work as examples or proof of your skills and make great points or stories to include in your cover letter. By doing that you will be checking every box on the recruiter’s list and hopefully get the job you’re applying for.

4. Don’t be afraid to mention what you bring to the organization

It is completely fine to quantify what you’re bringing to the company in your cover letter. Whether it’s the number of experience years, diversity to a team, accounts or partners you’re bringing, languages you speak, as long as it is relevant to the job and the organization. Recruiters want to know what makes you different than the other person who has the same qualifications.

Good Luck!

Hamad Alghareeb

Hamad Alghareeb is an enthusiastic educator with a great passion for youth development. A previous Managing Director of AIESEC in Bahrain and High School Academic and Career Counselor. He has worked with educational programs for both governmental and private sectors. He currently works as the Coordinator of Quality Assurance and Community Connections at the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

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