#ThanksTips: Cover Letters
The Biztech Job Fair is quickly approaching! That means it is time to start thinking about how to prepare for it. Luckily for you we have a series of posts coming your way with the intention of helping you to successfully navigate your way through the job fair.
To start things off, today we are looking into cover letters. Writing cover letters is an art that takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience. It can seem tricky sometimes to get out all your necessary information in a short letter. Not to mention that different employers prefer different styles and these preferences are very subjective. Furthermore, any individual working in recruitment tends to spend a horrifyingly short period of time (under a minute) scanning through your cover letter and will toss it to one side for the tiniest mistakes or for lack of what they are looking for.
It can be time-consuming, but a well-written cover letter is well worth it. It can show the employer that you are either serious about a career with them or just copying and pasting different company names to the body of a general letter. We suggest you do not do the latter. The cover letter could be the difference between a peak of interest that leads someone to look at your resume or instead it being discarded. Some companies might not even look at or accept your application without the cover letter. So, look no further than below this paragraph to get some basic tips that employers would appreciate.
Keep it concise.
Cover letters should not be more than one page. Even though one page is the maximum, they should not carry on for that long either. As previously mentioned, employers have a lot of applications to go through so they usually only scan through each one for as long as 30 seconds. Make sure to get your point across quickly. Try placing the most relevant information at the top of the letter. Additionally, you can put key words in bold to draw attention to them as well as write some of your qualifications in bullet point form.
What is in it for them?
When stating your qualifications on the cover letter, make sure to phrase it in a way that the employer understands what is in it for them. Why should they bring you in for an interview or take a chance on hiring you? What do you bring to the table? It is important to connect the dots for the employer. Find a way to relate your skills and experience back to the position that you are applying for.
Tailor Your Cover Letter – Find Key Words
It is imperative that you tailor your cover letter to each application as well. Recruiters can easily tell when a cover letter is mass produced just to have the company info and position title switched accordingly. Make sure you are including the correct information and do not accidentally send it out with the wrong company and position. It is also a good idea to go through the job posting and pick out the keywords and key skills they are looking for and incorporate them into your letter.
Don’t sound desperate!
It can definitely be stressful finding a new job, but the hiring committee of the job you applied to does not need to know that you are at your wits end looking for your next place of work. It is understandable that you may feel pressured to find a decent paying job straight after graduation for many reasons but nonetheless, you cannot let that pressure and desperation spill out onto your cover letter. Do not sound like you are begging for the position they are offering even though that may 100% be the truth. Appearing desperate does not give the recruiter the impression that you are applying for the right reasons. It will be assumed that you will be just trying to get into whatever job and not put in the same effort as someone who is actually keen on the position.
Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.
Proofreading is an extremely important step in your cover letter writing process. You would be surprised with all the little errors you can catch the third, fourth, and fifth time reading over a cover letter. Get someone else to read it for you to make sure that what you want to get across is being portrayed on paper. Access your allies. Ask someone you know who has experience hiring, an adviser, a friend, or reach out to our Career Centre.
Cover Letter Clinics
Sheridan’s Career Centre has cover letter clinics to help students get ready for job applications. Visit their site and find out when you can get some assistance!
Register now for the Biztech Job Fair online!
By: Maya St. Kitts
Maya St. Kitts is a marketing coordinator for Sheridan’s Pilon School of Business. For her, student engagement is not only a mission, but also a lifestyle. As much as she loves to use the written word in English, communicating in French, German, and Spanish are also her passions.