The right cover letter can help you stand out from other applicants and land the job, but how do you write an effective cover letter?

While unemployment has dropped drastically over the past few years, you still have to face stiff competition to land certain jobs. When companies are inundated with resumes, it’s not always easy for them to distinguish between candidates, and that’s where the cover letter comes in. Your cover letter can be the difference between landing a job and having a potential employer put your resume at the bottom of the stack. An effective cover letter is essential, and the team at Worcester Envelope Company has come up with this list of tips to help you write a cover letter that stands out:

#1. Know the purpose of writing a cover letter.

You can’t possibly write an effective cover letter if you don’t know why you are writing it in the first place! Your cover letter is your place to come up with an engaging introduction into who you are and what you have to offer. Regardless of what else you put in your cover letter, the whole point of a cover letter is the answer the question, “Why should our company hire you?”

#2. Do your research.

While your resume should be all about your career as a whole, your cover letter should be all about the specific position you are applying for. Researching the company, as well as the position you are applying for, is essential to writing an effective cover letter. Since many applicants don’t do this essential step, taking the time to do your research will almost certainly help your cover letter stand out from the many others that employer looks at every day.

#3. Determine what your attributes and skills are.

It’s not always easy to take a critical and unbiased look at yourself, but it’s an important part of coming up with a cover letter. It’s not enough to simply list out your skills and attributes; you need to make them fit within the position you are applying for. One great way to organize your thoughts and determine which skills and attributes fit the position is to create a Venn diagram. In one circle, put your name, and in an overlapping circle, put the name of the employer or position. Then, you can start filling in the diagram with your skills and attributes. Any skills that fit the position should go in the overlapping part of the diagram, and any that don’t should be limited to the circle with your name in it. When writing your cover letter, only use the attributes and skills in the overlapping area of the diagram.

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#4. Make it personal.

Your letter needs to be addressed in a formal, yet clear manner. Many people simply address their cover letter with, “To whom it may concern,” but you can make yours stand out if you make it more personal. If possible, do some research into who will be hiring you or looking at your resume, and address your cover letter specifically to them. This shows the employer that you are a candidate who is serious about getting to know, and finding your place within, their company.

#5. Identify keywords in the job listing.

Read over the job listing you are applying for to identify specific keywords that they might look for in your cover letter. Some of these keywords might be industry jargon, and using these keywords in your cover letter will give the employer the impression that you’ve taken the time to learn more about the industry, as well as the job itself, which demonstrates how serious you are about wanting the job.

#6. Talk about the company’s value.

Every business wants to create a culture where employees work well together and get along, and it’s important to demonstrate in your cover letter that you will be a good fit for the culture of the company. Find out what the company’s values are, and use your new-found knowledge to explain what those values mean to you, as well as how you will uphold them once in the position.

Writing an effective cover letter is essential to landing an interview. Once you’ve interviewed for a position, the next step to make yourself stand out as a candidate is to send a follow-up or thank you letter to the person who interviewed you. Check out our previous blog for helpful tips on writing a thank you letter in your professional life, and order the custom printed envelopes you need to send out your thank you letter with us at Worcester Envelope Company!