- Your cover letter can determine whether you’re offered an interview or not.
- Many, however, find it difficult to write a compelling one.
- Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter, told CNBC how to stand out in the first line of your cover letter.
Cover letters can be time-consuming and, often, are one of the more frustrating steps in a job application.
That said, writing a good one can be the difference between being offered an interview or missing out.
In a survey of 200 recruiters by ResumeLab, 83% said that a good cover letter could land a candidate an interview even if their resume wasn’t strong enough on its own.
Ian Siegel, head of the US careers site ZipRecruiter, explained to CNBC what it’s important to include in a cover letter and how you can get recruiters excited about you.
First impressions count
A well-written cover letter should express your enthusiasm for the job and help the company get a better idea of your character. This is what many applicants find difficult.
According to Siegel, there is lots of bad advice out there on cover letters.
“It’s more of a demonstration of communication competency and [an] attempt to provide a short summary of your skills and experience,” he said.
Siegel also explained that a frequent mistake is using the cover letter to list your qualifications. This information is already on your resume.
It makes a better impression to first show interest in the other person, rather than talking about yourself. Talk about the company and why you would love to work there.
Convince them with your enthusiasm
The skill is to infect the recruiters with your enthusiasm in a short period of time. Ask yourself why you want to apply to this company. Perhaps they have a product or an idea that particularly excites you.
“Show enthusiasm, show you’ve done research, and show you want to come in there and make a contribution,” Siegel said.
He said you should start your cover letter with the following line: “I’m so excited to apply to this job because …”
This approach not only gives the company a chance to get to know you better, but it also helps you become clearer about which job particularly excites you and in which application you should therefore invest the most time.