Writing a cover letter is a daunting task. For immigrant professionals, this process can be even more confusing. As an immigrant myself, I remember spending so much time online researching questions such as:
- “What should you write in a cover letter?”
- “How do you start a cover letter in the U.S.?”
The more sample cover letters I read, the more confused I became, because each one looked completely different.
And yet, cover letters are a crucial step in the U.S. job search process, giving you the opportunity to showcase your skills and demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the role. After sending more than 100 applications and receiving no response, I was getting desperate. My luck changed when a friend of mine introduced me to Upwardly Global, and I registered for their online training on how to write a cover letter. Suddenly, I knew exactly what to do to write an effective cover letter, and soon enough, the interviews started rolling in!
Jobversity, an initiative of Upwardly Global, is offering their online training and resources for free. Check out the Jobversity Resource Library to access this material for free!
In the resource library, you will learn many best practices—as well as mistakes to avoid—when writing cover letters. For example, one costly mistake candidates often make is sending the same generalized cover letter to several different positions.
Cover letters should act as a bridge between your work experience and the job description. Each cover letter should be tailored to focus only on the skills and experience required in the job description.
Keep in mind that U.S.-style cover letters are notoriously brief, consisting of roughly three paragraphs. They are typically no longer than one page. Instead of wasting time and space summarizing your entire work history, use the job description as your guide. Highlight only your most relevant and important achievements to demonstrate the value you would bring to the role. Lastly, whenever possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements. As they say, numbers do not lie, and they are an effective way to help a recruiter understand your experience and accomplishments!
For more tips on writing cover letters that will get recruiters knocking on your door, check out the Jobversity Resource Library, which provides step-by-step instructions for writing winning cover letters.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).