How to create an impressive cover letter
Cover letters are a powerful career tool that can help you establish a compelling first impression with potential employers. So, how can we achieve that? Here's a few ways to help make your cover letter greetings interesting and engaging:
- Introduce yourself by highlighting your achievements
- Personalise your cover letter by sharing your professional story
- Mention any relevant anecdotes or facts
- Explain your connection to the profession or industry
- Create a convincing belief statement
Let’s explore these points further:
1. Introduce yourself by highlighting your accomplishments
Everyone has a series of unique talents, skills or achievements: to impress employers, concentrate on any significant talents, skills or accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the job role you’re applying for. Remember, it’s important that the accomplishments you choose to highlight are relevant: you might be an impressive iceskater or make outstanding origami, but if you’re applying for a job in marketing, it’s best to focus on more relevant skills and achievements. Employers will be looking for tangible, measurable evidence of your impact, so we always recommend using numbers, percentages and figures where possible!
2. Personalise your cover letter by sharing your professional story
To make your cover letter feel authentic to employers, we recommend that applicants take the time to personalise and tailor their cover letters to the requirements listed in the job description. The best way to do this is by sharing your professional story and including details about your career and career goals. From there, you can relate these details to the job role. For example, if you’re applying for a role in healthcare, you might like to mention how you’ve always been inspired by healthcare professionals or you can describe a life experience that made you motivated to pursue medicine. Whatever career path you’re on, employers appreciate cover letters that feel genuine, meaningful and reflect authentic motivations and intentions. Employers may even be able to see themselves in your story!
To effectively share your story and make it relevant for employers, it’s important that you understand the company culture and their values. Do your research – check out their social media and websites. A company’s ‘About Us’ page can give you some key clues into their values and their story, and if you can relate your professional story to their company mission, you’ll help your cover letter stand out from the crowd. Pretty cool, huh?
3. Mention any relevant anecdotes or facts
Another great way to enhance your cover letter and engage employers is by sharing relevant anecdotes or facts. For example, if you’re applying for a job in retail, you could mention how you achieved a high customer satisfaction rate at previous companies you worked for and use real-life examples that demonstrate this. Remember to choose facts and anecdotes that specifically relate to the job you’re applying for – employers are looking for examples that illustrate your ability to drive results, and your cover letter gives you a chance to shine and showcase your skills and professional value to employers.
4. Explain your connection to the profession or industry
When employers are reading your cover letter, one of the first questions that may be wondering is why you applied for the role. Articulating your motivations and intentions isn’t always easy – but it’s usually very appreciated! To effectively communicate your connection to the job role or industry you’re applying for, you’ll want to clearly summarise your reasons for applying for the role with genuine enthusiasm. Employers appreciate applicants who have done their research and know they’ll be a great fit for the role. One effective way to do this is by highlighting how your professional goals align with the company's objectives. You could mention your appreciation for the company’s impact in the community and emphasise how their values resonate with your own. It’s important that you articulate your motivations with sincerity: employers often have a sixth-sense for sweet-talkers, so it’s always best to be as upfront, authentic and honest as possible.
5. Create a convincing belief statement
After you’ve conducted enough research on the company and industry you’re applying for, you’ll have enough information to create an effective belief statement. A belief statement, in a professional context, is an expression of your core values and how they relate to the job role you’re applying for. For example, if you believe in integrity, collaboration and taking initiative, let employers know! It’s always a great idea to match your own professional beliefs with the values of the company, which is why it’s important to do your research on a company before you begin the application process. Belief statements can also help employers better understand you, your professional background and what value you may have to offer to the role. Overall, belief statements can help employers determine if you’re a good fit for the role!
How do I know which cover letter greeting to use?
Your cover letter greeting will depend on the type of job you’re applying for, the industry you’re applying to and the specific employers your cover letter is addressed to. In most cases, “Dear Mr/Mrs Example'' is a great way to address employers. This approach is professional, formal and generally failsafe, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally offending or upsetting potential employers.
If you’re unsure of which greeting to use or think a more formal or traditional greeting is best, we recommend using “Dear Mr/Mrs Example.” However, if you feel comfortable with a more informal greeting or think a less formal greeting is best, we recommend choosing a cover letter greeting such as “Kia ora, Mr. Edwards,” or “Hello, Mrs. Campbell. ”
Avoid using very informal or inappropriate greetings as these can be interpreted as rude or offensive. Most of the time, opting for a more formal cover letter greeting is the best choice.
Our guidelines for cover letter greetings:
- Be sure to use employer’s names where possible – personalised cover letters are always the most effective
- When in doubt, opt for a formal greeting. For example: “Dear Mr. Wirihana” or “Tēnā koe, Mrs. Smith”
- Unless you have an existing relationship with a potential employer, it’s always best to address employers using both their first and last names
- If there’s more than one recipient, use a collective noun. For example: Dear Team ABC