Preparing a strong cover letter to land your next job

by | Nov 20, 2018 | Behavioral Health

With your resume mapped out and your job hunt well on its way, you’re likely ready to prepare a well-written resume as you start building a list of job opportunities.

In order to get the attention of your potential new employer, you need to stand out and a powerful cover letter is your first chance to do that. 

Knowing what to include, knowing how to highlight your skills and personalizing your cover letter with each application will automatically put you ahead of many other job seekers. 

Know what they want 

The job posting you found is the best tip sheet for selecting important information to include. Look at the job posting as your own personal checklist of skills that you can tick off as you write. The posting interested you for a reason, so you have the interests, skills or capabilities of handling the job—now you just have to show it. You don’t have to use word-for-word language. Instead look for ways to highlight your experience and interests that match the job description. 

If they’re looking for specific accounting skills, talk about how the accounting courses you’ve taken excited you. 

This kind of focus will help you prioritize what to include in the cover letter. Not everything, though, needs to make this document. You still have room in the resume itself to flesh out the details of your work and your interests. 

Focus on key skills 

If you have skills that you think stand out, then you might want to highlight some of those in the cover letter. It’s great for the hiring team to know the list of companies you worked at in recent years, but those jobs shouldn’t be your focus. Put more attention on your skills. If the job calls for the ability to work with the public, and you have plenty of that, then highlight that ability in one of your paragraphs. There’s plenty of ways to show you have the experience in three or four sentences. 

Take the time to flesh out your idea, making it as succinct as possible. If you can highlight at least two of your best skills in the cover letter, you’ll be doing great. 

Prove your worth 

Whenever you can, it’ll help giving specific accomplishments that illustrate your successes. Did you lead a fundraising campaign? Then brag about how much money you raised. Were you regularly honoured with employee-of-the-month recognitions? Then tell them about that. Did you have excellent grades for the accounting programs you took? The cover letter is a great place to boast about that too. All these details will help you grab their attention, particularly if your matching your skills to those in the job posting. 

Personalize the letter 

One of the best ways to have someone read your cover letter beyond the salutation is to make sure the letter is addressed to the person hiring. Most of the time, the posting will tell you who to address in your letter. But whenever possible, dig as deep as you can to find the name of the manager in charge. Experience in each of sport is usually beneficial, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Many young kids can benefit from the support of coaches and mentors outside of the specific sport they’re playing. Showing leadership and sportsmanship is just as important as the specific skills that go along with each sport.

No matter which organization you choose, volunteering is an experience that’s valuable for you and your community. Whether you’re gaining new skills through your volunteer work or you’re using your own expertise to help others, the opportunity will be rewarding for both sides. Just make sure you’ve given some thought to the types of organizations that would best fit your skills and interests.You can easily track down this type of information these days by checking company pages on LinkedIn or by visiting the organization’s website. You can also just pick up the phone or ask someone at the office if you’re there to get any job information beforehand. 

Taking the time to craft a strong cover letter will take you a long way when it comes to getting recognized by a potential employer. Review the job posting carefully and know what the organization wants in an employee. Then build a resume that matches your skills to those required for the job. The effort you put in now will pay off later. 

Welcome Home

Download the Holy Cross Services brochure.


HCS specializes in empowerment and trauma recovery for children and families engaged in the child welfare system and supporting our neighbors to end their episodes of homelessness. Although these areas of service have significant intersection, we operate our programs through three functional arms:

  • Division of Family-Based Care and Youth Transition
  • Division of Residential Care and Family Healing
  • Division of Housing and Community Advocacy

Learn More

Holy Cross Services is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation

EIN #38-1368326