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You’re applying for your dream job. You’ve put in the time to write a great resume, now comes the tough part – writing the perfect cover letter. Here are five things to keep in mind while you write:

#1 – Do your homework

Before you begin writing your cover letter, make sure you research the company you are applying for. First and foremost, it is important to find out what they are looking for in a candidate. This will provide you with a guide as you write because the main purpose of a cover letter is to show how you can fulfill that specific company’s needs. Don’t stop there though, be sure to answer the following questions to spice up the letter. Does the company have any recent achievements? What are their values? What about the company draws you to them? Keep these items in mind as you begin the writing process. Showing a company that you’ve done your homework lets them know that they are more than just a potential paycheck to you.

#2 – Don’t be afraid to show off

You’ve looked at the job description. You’ve researched the company. Now it’s time to show them why you would be a great fit. In this section of your cover letter, it’s okay to show off a bit. In fact, it’s encouraged! Pick a few items from the job description that you have strong experience or skill in. Create a narrative in which you share that experience while explaining how it would relate to the job you are applying for.

Note: Don’t simply repeat what’s in your resume. While your resume lists skills and experience, your cover letter should explain the relevance of what is listed on your resume.

#3 – Be enthusiastic

While the task of writing your cover letter may not be fun, it is important to maintain enthusiasm throughout the letter. You can show your enthusiasm by letting your prospective employer know how excited you are for the opportunity to apply or by expressing gratitude for the consideration. Be enthusiastic by putting time and effort into editing, formatting and choosing your wording for your cover letter as well. A cover letter is often the first interaction you may have with a hiring manager, so the tone of your cover letter is the employer’s first impression of you. Show them that you are enthusiastic about the position and would bring that enthusiasm to their company.

#4 – End it with a bang

Make sure the ending of your letter leaves the reader with a great first impression of you. In the spirit of enthusiasm, thank them for the opportunity. Let them know you look forward to hearing from them and be sure to include your signature at the bottom.

#5 – Pay attention to formatting

You may have finished writing the text, but you are not done yet. Before sending it off, be sure to check your formatting. Your cover letter should be easy to read and professional. Avoid any obscure fonts, font sizes, or colors. Include a header with your contact information at the top. Before you dive into your body text, make sure you include a greeting to the hiring manager. Write your body text in basic paragraph form, while following the tips above. Finish your cover letter with a solid ending. If you are unsure if your letter has the proper format, there are many resources online for cover letter templates, techniques, and help. Don’t just wing it.

Note: If you are sending your cover letter digitally, you should save it as a PDF so your document will keep its formatting.

Applying for jobs can be stressful and time-consuming, but writing the perfect cover letter doesn’t have to be hard. For more help with your job search, contact us.

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