Employer-Focused Cover Letters
Do people read cover letters? It depends whom you ask. Some recruiters say no. As a hiring manager, I read every cover letter. Your audience for the letter is not the recruiter; it’s your potential manager.
I reviewed each cover letter because I wanted to make the best hiring decision possible. Why ignore a piece of available information to make the decision?
Consider this: You will never be penalized for taking initiative to write a cover letter. If it comes down to you and another candidate, don’t let the fact your competitor took time to write a personalized letter, and you didn’t, be a deciding factor.
Step 5 of the Crossroads Career methodology, Searching, is about seeking to serve. Before writing a cover letter, research prospective employers to know why you want to work for them. How can you bring your skills, strengths, and experiences to deliver value and serve them with excellence?
Cover Letter Tips
- Use the same font on your cover letter and resume for consistency.
- Include name, email and one contact number, preferably your cell phone.
- Limit length to one page.
- Try to obtain the hiring manager’s name to personalize the letter. Contact
HR, ask the recruiter, or use LinkedIn to search the company name and job
title you might report to.
- Structure the first paragraph to be employer-focused instead of about you.
- Connect your values to the values of the organization from your research.
- Connect your preferred skills and experiences to the requirements of the job.
- Explain why you want to work there and why your skills and experiences are a fit for their needs.
- End with a call to action.
Cover Letter Formula
It’s common for job seekers to write cover letters focused on themselves. An employer-focused letter is a refreshing way to demonstrate you seek to serve. “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)
Indicate the position you are applying for by position title or Job ID from the job description. Briefly explain why you want to work there. Focus on values that align with the employer’s values and brand. If you know someone in the company who referred you, mention it here.
Highlight key experiences and abilities you have that they seek in the job description. The bullets at the top of the job description are the best place to focus as they are likely the most important.
Share the workplace culture you seek and share more about yourself without getting personal.
“I value adaptability, change, learning, collaboration and commitment. I seek to work with an innovative company such as ACME that shares these values.”
Call to action. Express your interest in the role and invite the hiring manager to contact you by phone or email.
Your aim is to avoid writing a boilerplate letter with jargon and buzz words. A sincere, employer-focused cover letter is a wonderful opportunity to stand out.
This post was written by Kristin Sherry. Kristin is a member of the Crossroads Career Board of Directors. She is the best selling author of YouMap & Your Team Loves Mondays…Right? She joined our board in 2019 and lives with her husband and 4 kids in North Carolina.