Many people use the Cover Letter to promote matching all details of the Job Posting.
This is not the correct response as your Cover Letter can be longer than your Resume.
So here is a plan to help you write a short but powerful impact letter.
STEP 1: GET YOUR HEAD INTO THE COMPETITION
There is no set pattern of form for a Cover Letter which is why so many
people fumble with this. High Impact covering their critical needs in a
minimal number of words works best. Remember, these people are busy
and don't have time to read multiple pages, maybe not multiple paragraphs.
How many books begin with "It was a dark and stormy night..." to capture
the reader's attention. Think of an equivalent to get them locked into you
and what you can do for them to solve their problem. Companies hire to
solve problems. You want them to read this, get hooked, and call you.
STEP 2: You are your Sales Representative to a Hiring Manager, Recruiter and/or HR
This is not your Resume but a "Sales Slick", something to entice them to ask
for more information about the wonderful product "YOU". This should show
you not only have what they need but are professional, have great skills in
communications, and a personality which all are needed qualities to them.
STEP 3: THEY WANT MEAT; DON'T SUBMIT VAGUE OR FLUFFY BUT TARGETED INFO
High impact, high focus and an easy read is your goal. Write for the JOB,
for the COMPANY with BREVITY BUT MEAT. Give a hungry tiger a taste of
meat and they want more. Give them a taste you are a strong potential winner
and they will want to learn more.
STEP 4: LETTERS TO SOMEONE NOT SOME THING
Always try to know who receives this letter and pay attention to the spelling
of names, titles and the company. Adding this personal touch impresses
readers and you are trying to impress them.
STEP 5: DISCUSS THE JOB NOT YOUR RESUME
Lead with the Job you are responding to including location. At this point
you are communicating with a person not a computer so put some heart
into it. Ideally you know what the recipient of this letter is by role and can
then write along what is of importance to them. Jobs are to solve PROBLEMS
so if you know their problem, address it. Where are their pains?
STEP 6: FOCUS ON THEIR PAIN, THEIR PROBLEM
This alone shows interest and involvement. What is your value to them with
their pain, their problem. What are you bringing to the table to help them?
STEP 7: BACKUP YOUR CLAIMS
Give them reason to see you are a viable candidate by providing details to
backup your claims above. This must be custom-written for each job.
STEP 8: USE THEIR WORDS FOR YOUR ABILITIES
Each industry and company has their own words; use them to describe how
you fit it will help them visualize you fitting in. Use what they are asking for
to respond back directly from how you accomplished that. Use your personal
statistics in accomplishments and achievements to sell yourself. Everyone
SHOULD be able to show up for work on time, but many will not have shown
they go the extra mile to achieve spectacular things or missed opportunities!