Job seekers, take note: if you think cover letters are a thing of the past, you better think again. While a resume can tell a potential employer about your education and work history, a cover letter can reveal aspects of your personality that your resume just can’t reflect– things like your willingness to be a team player, for example. It’s for this reason that the vast majority of employers still expect to receive a resume and cover letter from job seekers. Constructing a cover letter isn’t as always as simple as it seems, however. If you’re in the market for an accounting or financial position, consider the following five tips for writing an effective cover letter:
Be a problem solver. No one wants to read an essay about all of your career accomplishments in a cover letter. Instead, focus on how you are going to solve a problem for the company. For example, if you’re responding to a job posting for a controller at a brand new facility, describe how your skills and experience will benefit the company as they get started at their new location. Then, detail what you would accomplish in the role if offered the position. Remember: the cover lettershould be about how you can help the company, not an opportunity to boast about your accomplishments.
Reflect the company culture. Every organization has its own unique culture. When writing a cover letter, it’s important to customize your thoughts to reflect the culture of the company you’re applying to. For example, if you’re sending your cover letter to a large accounting firm, the tone of your letter will be decidedly different than if you’re applying for a position at a small non-profit organization. The bottom line is that your cover letter should be customized to both the position you’re applying for and the organization that’s advertising the position, so do your research before hitting send.
Use keywords. Your cover letter should always include industry keywords; it’s important for hiring managers to know that you’re well-versed in industry terminology. For example, an accountant might include keywords like CPA and tax audits. Avoid listing these keywords as bullet points, however; they should be included in your description of how you’re going to help the company succeed. Originality is important too, so make sure to customize each cover letter you write; generic templates should be avoided.
Brevity is important. Hiring managers and human resource professionals are busy. A surefire way to have your cover letter ignored is to send them something that resembles a short novel. Thus, it’s important to keep your cover letter brief; a good rule of thumb is to keep it around 3 paragraphs. There’s no need for a lengthy introduction; quickly state your case in the opening of your letter. Include your core competencies and then tell them what you can do for them. You want to grab their attention right away; otherwise, you risk your cover letter being tossed into the trash pile.
Proofread– and then proofread again. Maybe you have every single skill listed in a job posting and have an impressive resume boasting numerous accolades. But then you write a cover letter littered with grammatical and spelling errors. You’ve potentially just cost yourself an interview opportunity. Thus, it’s essential to proofread your cover letter before sending it out. Then, for good measure, have a friend or family member proofread it too.
Are you looking for an accounting job in the San Diego area? If so, contact us today! We are a boutique staffing firm specializing in accounting, financial, and administrative positions. We would welcome the opportunity to help you find the right position for your skills and experience.