Shine Your Cover Letter
For many veterans, drafting a compelling cover letter can be a tough process. The key is to create a cover letter that can be adapted to each opportunity. Your cover letter will always be a work in process – that is, you should constantly tweak it to meet the needs of each job to which you apply.
Start by Opening Strong
Many veterans beginning their civilian job search struggle with how to start their cover letter. To avoid a feeble introduction lacking punch and failing to grab the reader's interest, Military.com suggests:
- Weak: Please consider me for your sales representative opening.
- Better: Your need for a top-performing sales representative is an excellent match to my three-year history as a #1-ranked, multimillion-dollar producer.
Provide the Answer
Military.com suggests creating sub-headings from key areas of the job posting itself and briefly describing how your experience fills the bill. Doing this also allows you to make the letter more visually appealing by creating bullet points and white space, rather than paragraphs of dense text.
- Your Ad Specifies: Communication skills
I Offer: Five years of public speaking experience and an extensive background in executive-level reporting.
Your Ad Specifies: The need for a strong computer background.
I Offer: Proficiency in all MS Office applications with additional expertise in website development and design.
Don’t Just Repeat Your Resume
If you’re applying for sales roles, your resume may be tailored with bullet points to highlight various sales goals you have reached. Another way to hammer that information home in a cover letter is to say something like this: “Over the past five years, my sales growth has averaged 20% annually.” You have successfully communicated that you are adept in your field without quoting your resume.
Consistency is Key
There are no hard and fast rules for the style in which your letter is formatted. Whether it’s using a block style that flushes all the text to the left, or a modified block style that indents each paragraph, stick with the same format throughout the document – and the same goes for your resume.