When you go to make your resume stand out, you most likely are very meticulous about making yourself look good. You show your strengths, triple proof read for spelling errors, and make sure the most relevant information jumps off the page– or a hiring manager’s computer monitor. But getting the job you want takes more than a good looking resume. Just as important, and possibly more important, is the effectiveness of your cover letter.
In order to make your cover letter stand out, it is important to remember that it is not your resume. Most resume tips will explain the importance of outlining your work experience and education in a way that will make you an attractive candidate. Cover letter tips will note the importance of showing a hiring manager that you do, in fact, belong at their company.
Too often, job seekers make the point of getting too formal and simply summarizing their resume. If it is possible to summarize your resume in a cover letter, maybe your resume should be shorter. Focus instead on letting the hiring manager know that you have taken an interest in what the company stands for, and that you have a sense of what is going on in the field. Let them know that you carry an interest in what they do, and leave the impression that this will continue to be the case whether or not they choose to hire you.
Cover letters also need to be short and to the point. Formal introductions, and all the “Dear Sir or Madam” stuff just isn’t necessary. Don’t waste time on thinking of a greeting or formally introducing yourself. That information is on your resume, which is sitting there right under your cover letter where it is easy to find.
You may also consider a video cover letter as a way to stand out from the crowd. The power of video allows you to show off your soft skills and give employers an idea of how you might fit in at the company. Use a video cover letter as a chance to show off your personality!
Lastly, it is important that the hiring manager can read both your cover letter and your resume or video resume. To assure this, make sure all documents are sent in a format that can be opened by anyone. If you are using a new version of Word, and the company is using an older one – or not using Word at all- they might not be able to open either attachment, and all your creative razzle dazzle will be for naught.