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Writing a cover letter, is, my experience, very challenging. Is not easy to formulate one that gets the attention and sets you apart. Jodi Glickman, a communications expert and author of Great on the Job said that a cover letter “It’s your best chance of getting the attention of the HR person or hiring manager and an important opportunity to distinguish yourself from everyone else.”

Here are some tips to help you write a professional cover letter:

Research first

Start by reading the job description, but also do your research online about the company. Try to contact an employee or even the hiring manager if possible,  to find out more about the job and the company. It will set you apart when you start the conversation at the interview by mentioning the information you already have about the company.

Focus your letter on the future

Let your resume speak about the past, your experience, and make the cover letter about what you hope to do next and why.

Because of the pandemic, there is less of an expectation that you’ll be applying for a job that you’ve done before. And if you are a hotelier as I am, you know how important is now to rethink your skill sets. “There are millions of people who are making career changes — voluntarily or involuntarily — and need to pivot and rethink how their skillset relates to a different role or industry,” says Glickman

Use your cover letter to explain the shift you are making , for example from hospitality to marketing. Is an opportunity to sell your transferable skills.

Use a strong opening phrase

Gone are the days when you started the letter by saying: ” I read about this vacancy and am interested to apply”. Instead, start with a strong line, mentioning why you are interested in the job and what skill set recommends you for the job. For example: ” I’m a hotelier with more than 20 years experience looking for an opportunity to apply my skills in managing people in new areas. I’d love to bring my expertise and enthusiasm to your team”.

You can also include a sentence or two about your background and your relevant experience but don’t rewrite your résumé.

Take advantage of social media and try to find the name of a hiring manager and address the letter to him/her directly.

Let your personal value “shine”

Hiring managers are looking for problem-solvers. The research you did about the company should reveal what the company does, some of its challenges.

Knowing these things will help you be relevant in your presentation. Talk about how your experience has equipped you to meet their needs. Explain how you solved a similar problem in the past or share a relevant accomplishment. 

Also consider two skills that are relevant to most of the jobs: adaptability and the ability to learn fast. Do not only mention that you have these skills, bring up examples of situations when you used these skills, describe what you did and what were the results

Show enthusiasm

“When you don’t get hired, it’s usually not because of a lack of skills,” says Glickman. “It’s because people didn’t believe your story, that you wanted the job, or that you knew what you were getting into.”

Phrases like” I’d love to work for your company, you are the industry leader in …” convey enthusiasm . Be honest and show that you want the job.

Watch the tone

Don’t go overboard with the flattery or say anything you don’t mean. Authenticity is crucial. Even if you are ready to take any job because you are without work you do not want to sound desperate. Your tone should be professional and mature.

Keep it short

Your cover letter should be brief to give the reader the opportunity to read it at a glance.

So, this is it. Some advice I read about in my own quest to prepare a professional cover letter. Hope that my article gave you some inspiration.

Any suggestion based on your experience? Feel free to share in the comments.