How to write a resume cover letter they can’t ignore

Many job candidates focus all their energy on their resume without investing time learning how to write a cover letter. But, if your cover letter is weak – or worse, non-existent, your CV may never be read no matter how well-crafted it is.

Your resume cover letter demands just as much attention as the CV itself.

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Take a look at our tips, which will help your cover letter stand out from the crowd.

First paragraph of your cover letter

Explain your reason for writing in the introductory paragraph and the position you’re applying for. You can also try to hook the reader by offering a compelling reason to continue reading, such as mentioning a titbit about the company or a preview of your qualifications or achievements.

Cover letter body paragraph(s)

This is your chance to sell yourself to your potential employer. In one or two paragraphs state why you’re ideal for the position. Sure, some of this information will be set out in your resume but your cover letter allows you to provide additional detail using a more conversational style.

Importantly, try to use the wording from the job description when describing your skills and experience. Managers reviewing resumes look for those key phrases, and computer programs may be used that scan cover letters for key words used in the job description or job posting.

Be sure to research the hiring firm so you can explain how your skills and background are ideal for the organisation.

Remember: keep your message focused on what you can do for the company, not what it can do for you.

Closing paragraph

Mention how and when you plan to follow up, and tell the potential employer you’re interested in continuing the conversation about the position. Thank the reader for their time, and include a standard closing that you’d find in a business letter.

This article originally appeared as How to write a cover letter they can’t ignore on The Robert Half blog.

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