Rules of Writing Great Cover Letter That Will Engage Employers
May 26, 2016 - Posted to Resume Tips
Writing your first cover letter and resume can be tricky. You have little to no experience to show to your future employers and the only thing you have going for you is your youth, energy and fresh perspective. Don’t worry, because this is what many modern companies are actually looking for. The trick is finding a way to sell that potential to your employer and let them know that you are the right person for them.
The question of how to make a cover letter for a resume has been asked time and time again. While the answer isn’t simple, it’s also not as convoluted as many would have you believe. In truth, it’s all about adapting to your specific employer’s needs, but we’ll get right on that. However, there are some things that you should know before writing your first resume. Don’t mass-mail your application to a hundred e-mails hoping for an answer. It never works and makes you look desperate. Even if you’re struggling to get an internship or a job, this is not the way to go. Be professional and adapt your application to your company of choice. They will appreciate you more for it, and even if you don’t get a position, they might call you later or give you a recommendation.
The second thing to note is that your cover letter serves as a “cherry on top” for your resume. Rarely will an employer read your cover letter before taking a look at your resume. Keep this in mind when you prepare your application. It’s not enough to just look at a cover letter for resume example and call it a day. Spend as much time writing your resume as you would your cover letter. Now let’s take a look at some cover letter examples for college students and how you can cater to your employer in the best way.
Create an outline
While it’s easy to go all-out on your cover letter and say everything you want to say, it’s always a good idea to create an outline and stick to it. Most of how to make a cover letter for resume is consisted of creating a systematic flow of information that shows how organized and critical you are. Your cover letter outline should look something like this:
- On the top right-hand side, you should write your full name, phone number, and e-mail address
- On the top left-hand side should be the name of the person you are contacting
- Try catering to that specific person and starting your letter with “Dear Mrs. Price” or something like that
- Use the introduction to explain why you are writing the application
- The body of your letter should include your specific skills and traits that would be useful for that position
- The conclusion should include any work experience you have and a thank-you note, closing the letter
While it sounds simple on paper, it’s often easy to get lost in writing and mix everything up. This is basically why the outline is created in the first place; to make sure everything is in its place. Another good idea is to look up some of the cover letter examples for students to make sure your paper is on the right track. While it’s good to be original, the cover letter should follow a predetermined outline so that your employer doesn’t have a hard time reading it. “Hard time reading it” usually equals “thank you for applying”, so make sure to format your letter.
If you don’t have any actual work experience (and that’s totally normal), you can list some of your team and leadership skills that would benefit your employer, your strengths and any volunteering experience. In today’s corporate world, leadership is a much sought after skill that many graduates and experts are lacking, so be sure to include it if you feel that you have what it takes.
This cannot be stressed enough. You’re applying for an internship or a full-time job, so your resume and cover letter should be impeccable. Be sure to check for any grammar and proofreading errors before thinking about submitting your paper. Keep your cover letter limited to one page, since going up and down between pages will make your reader breeze through it and not pay much attention. Your tone of voice and style should include as less first-person sentences as possible. At last, send your application to yourself via e-mail to check for any final formatting errors that you might have overlooked.
Try to write the letter in a formal tone and avoid any emotional or bias sentences. You might be proud of your achievements so far, but that doesn’t mean that you should rub it in. The best cover letter examples for college students will tell you the same. Be humble and professional. Everything else is up to your employer.
Test your application
Whether it’s your parent, a friend or a professor, try giving your application to someone else for reading. Make sure that you take any feedback into consideration. You might have made a serious mistake in paragraph two and you’re not even aware of it. Testing your letter this way will give you a fresh perspective of someone who is seeing the application for the first time and it’s a good step in how to make a cover letter for a resume.
All that’s left at this point is to send your application. A professionally written resume coupled with a detailed and thorough cover letter is taken seriously by any employer. Don’t think about how many other people applied for the same position. Whatever you choose to do in life, competition will always follow. The trick is doing your own work and letting others do theirs. Once you get the hang of how to make a cover letter for resume the first time, it will be easier to do it next time, and maybe this time for a full-time job at a company that you’ve always dreamed of.