It’s a saying that you’ve probably heard before. However, many people don’t realize it applies to cover letters. Not that I blame them. There’s so much conflicting information out there about whether or not hiring managers even skim cover letters, let alone get to the very end of them.
Here at The Muse, we’re strong believers in the fact that you should write every cover letter as if it’s going to be read from top to bottom. Because if it is—and it likely will be—you’d hate to get tossed in the no pile because you ended with something along the lines of, “whatever, peace out.”
Obviously that’s an exaggeration (I hope!), but there are ways to end your cover letter that will get you nixed from the get-go—and they’re a lot more common than you think. So, in honor of crafting the perfect cover letter, here are three definite don’ts, as well as what to write instead.
1. “I Will Call Your Office in a Week to Schedule an Interview.”
I have no idea where this (threatening) advice originated from, but ending your cover letter like this will not give the impression that you’re a go-getter who takes initiative. It will, however, make you seem egotistical and possibly delusional. This is just not how you get an interview. You want to end by showing that you’re a pulled-together professional, not a demanding child.
“I welcome the opportunity to speak with you about how I can contribute.”
2. “Through This Position I Hope to Gain a Deeper Understanding Of…”
This sounds polite and pulled together, but it still sends the wrong message. The concluding line could be the last thought you leave with the hiring manager before he or she decides whether or not to call you in for an interview. Think about it: Do you want it to be focused on what they can do for you or what you can do for them? Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and you’ll know it’s the latter.
“I’m excited to offer my expertise in…”
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3. “I Don’t Like Writing Cover Letters and You Don’t Like Reading Them…”
Again, I don’t blame people for being frustrated about cover letters. Are they necessary or aren’t they? What else is there to talk about if you’re not supposed to write the same stuff that’s in your resume? I get it. But, oh my goodness it does not mean you should submit something like this. This supposed “straight talk” is definitely one way to get attention, but not the right kind. The job application is where you present your best self—and if this is your best self, can you blame the hiring manager for passing?
Just don’t. Write an actual cover letter. Here’s a template.
You would think sending in a cover letter is better than not sending one in at all, but if you’re just going to phone it in, you’re not doing yourself any favors. In fact, you’re probably wasting your time. So, if you want to reap all those benefits of writing one, make sure you’re giving it your best effort all the way until the end. It’s as easy as the tweaks mentioned above.
Writing a cover letter isn’t an easy task for many job seekers. There’s a lot of pressure because, sometimes, the cover letter is the only piece the recruiter will read. Therefore, your cover letter must be a piece of writing that describes your achievements and how you will help the company succeed.
Additionally, you want your cover letter to illustrate how you are the best fit for the company and for the reader to believe you have the qualifications they seek. If you want to land an interview with your cover letter, you don’t want to sound vague or wishy-washy. Your cover letter should illustrate why you are the best fit and how you will help the company or organization reach success.
However, when writing the closing paragraph of your cover letter, it’s easy to have a passive voice because you don’t want to appear overconfident. For example, if you say, “I look forward to hearing from you,” that’s great — but that alone doesn’t seal the deal. The closing paragraph of your cover letter must be one of the strongest elements because it is the last impression you leave in the reader’s mind.
Here are five phrases to include in the final paragraph of your cover letter that will help you seal the deal for your next interview:
1. “I am very excited to learn more about this opportunity and share how I will be a great fit for XYZ Corporation.” Strong cover letter closings are enthusiastic and confident. You want the reader to have the impression you are truly passionate about the position and working for their company. This statement will also illustrate your ability to fit into the company culture and how your personality and work ethic is exactly what they’re looking for.
2. “I believe this is a position where my passion for this industry will grow because of the XYZ opportunities you provide for your employees.” It’s always a good idea to explain what you find attractive about working for the company and how you want to bring your passions to the table. By doing this, you can illustrate how much thought you dedicated to applying for the position and how much you care about becoming a part of the company.
3. “If I am offered this position, I will be ready to hit the ground running and help XYZ Company exceed its own expectations for success.” By adding this piece to your conclusion, you will be able to add some flare and excitement to your cover letter. The reader will become intrigued by your enthusiasm to “hit the ground running.” Employers look for candidates who are prepared for the position and are easy to train. Therefore, this phrase will definitely raise some curiosity and the reader will want to discover what you have to offer for their company.
4. “I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how my qualifications will be beneficial to your organization’s success.” Remember, you want to make it clear in your cover letter how the employer will benefit from your experience and qualifications. You want to also express how your goal is to help the organization succeed, not how the position will contribute to your personal success.
5. “I will call you next Tuesday to follow up on my application and arrange for an interview.” The most essential part of your closing is your “call to action” statement. Remember, the purpose of your cover letter is to land an interview. Don’t end your cover letter saying you’ll hope to get in touch. Explain to the reader the exact day and how you will be contacting them. When you state you will be following up with the employer, make sure you do it!
Remember, the closing of your cover letter is the most important element that will help you land your next interview. By crafting a strong, confident, and enthusiastic closing paragraph, you will leave the reader feeling like you could be the best candidate for the position.
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