Do you know how to write the perfect cover letter?
Maybe it’s not possible to actually write the perfect cover letter. However, the job posting and company culture can give you several clues on how to write a cover letter that will get noticed.
If you are just starting your job search, or have been at it a while, we hope you already know that you need to tailor your resume and cover letter for each job you apply for. You also need to let your personality show.
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How to tailor your cover letter for each job
You use a trick called Impression Management (IM). This is a fancy term for attempting to convey positive images and to inﬂuence hiring decisions. Chances are you are already doing this without realizing there is a term for it that people actually study.
Researchers at the University of Michigan undertook a study “systematically examining the impression management (IM) content of actual resumes and cover letters and empirically testing the effect on applicant evaluation.”
Simply stated, they tried to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
As in most things in life, the study revealed that moderation is the key. But what does that mean exactly?
Self-promotion is something you have to do when job searching. This may come more naturally to some and feel really weird and awkward to others. However, prospective employers aren’t going to telepathically know you are the perfect person for the job. You have to tell them.
Your cover letter and resume get you in the door and the interview seals the deal. So, how do we open the door?
In addition to looking for keywords in a job posting, also pay attention to tone and the frequency of types of words.
If the job posting or description contains a lot of superlatives like “excellent,” “outstanding,” and “superior” then you should too. But not too much.
If the job posting isn’t written this way then don’t craft your cover letter with big, active words. This may be considered intense self-promotion and will be seen as manipulative.
One More Thing…
Don’t forget to include that you want the job and why you want the job. Explain why you would be a great cultural fit. Use similar words and tone to that of their corporate culture. Makes sense right?
The Take-Away: You can’t use boilerplate cover letters and resumes for every job. You need to tailor your skills and qualifications to the particular opening, AND you need to tailor your self-promotional language to that of each job posting.
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