When you think about writing a cover letter, do you automatically cringe? Most job seekers hate crafting these letters, and for IT professionals – who are far more interested in numbers and code than words and sentence structure – cover letters can be especially painful. However, a bad cover letter will send your resume straight to the proverbial “circular file.” If you want to increase your chances of landing an interview, here are three must-haves for every IT cover letter.
#1: State the exact job you are applying for
Clearly state your purpose for sending the letter and resume. Be specific about the job you are applying for and be sure to reference the website, publication, or networking contact where you discovered the opening. Remember: a cover letter is a targeted business communication, so get to the point and be clear about your intentions. If you are sending a “cold” application – that is, you are not responding to a specific opening or request for resumes – you should still be clear about the type of job you are applying for at that particular organization. Vagueness implies you are not conducting a targeted job search.
#2: The case for why you are the ideal candidate
Your cover letter is your first impression. This hiring manager doesn’t know you, so you’ve got to paint a picture for them that illustrates why you deserve an interview. Some people have trouble tooting their own horn, but hiring managers do not want average workers, so this is no time to be modest. You should highlight your skills and expertise, of course, but you also want to show the ways you will add value to the team. What do you bring to the table that makes you unique?
#3: Ask for the interview
This is an element that many IT professionals forget to include in their cover letters. Asking for the interview shows your interest and enthusiasm for the position. Go one step further and tell the hiring manager that you will follow up, give a date for that follow up, and your method of following up. This shows that you are willing to take charge of the situation, and again, reinforces your enthusiasm for the job. Asking for the interview and following up also demonstrates confidence and self-assuredness.
Of course, all companies are different, and not every cover letter tip you read online will guarantee a foot in the door. All it boils down to is ensuring that your voice is properly conveyed so that hiring managers get a sense of who you are as a person; after all, most companies tend to hire candidates who will be a good cultural fit within the organization. Another good tip? Stay positive, even if you don’t get the response you’re looking for. If need be, take a creative risk – like the candidate who crafted her cover letter like a wedding invitation to hire her. It may not work with every hiring manager, but hey, at least they’ll remember you.
Cutting Edge Recruiting Solutions (CERS) is a nationally-recognized staffing and recruiting firm located in Boca Raton, Florida that specializes in placing skilled IT professionals with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in South Florida.