How to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

An online business management degree will help you project confidence when it's time to interview for a new job, but getting that interview in the first place requires a strong resume and stellar cover letter. Unless you have a direct employee referral, cover letters are a potential employer's first impression. 

Ways to make your cover letter stand out
It's easy to fall into the habit of writing generic cover letters that echo your resume. Formulaic cover letters tend to be more general because they are broad enough to be used for a number of positions. In fact, many job seekers create cover letter templates to save time. However, this can put you at risk of including the wrong date, company address, job title or salutation, and also neglects mentioning the specifics of the position. It is important to personalize every cover letter to include the proper address and date, and to direct attention to a person working within the company. Addressing your cover letter "To Whom It May Concern" can be a big red flag. Read the job description to find out the title of the person you would report to if you were offered the position, then go into the company's contact directory and get the specific name and contact information of the person in that role. 

It is also important to properly format a cover letter, but keep the body creative and specific to the position. Your resume is meant to summarize your professional experiences, so don't reiterate more than necessary. Research the company and position for which you are applying and use that information to cater your cover letter toward that position. Most job descriptions include bullet points explaining the qualifications and tasks pertinent to the position. Directly address how you meet these expectations and personalize your related experience. If you have a variety of past experiences, highlight your previous qualifications that are most relevant to the specific position.

Once you have a great first draft of your cover letter, go through and proofread the content several times. Consider your word choice and tone. Double and triple check for spelling errors, and make sure the address and salutation are correct. If you are emailing a cover letter and resume, attach the resume, but include the cover letter in the body of the email.  

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor degree programs in business and online MBA programs. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_business

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