Fancy paper?  Cute fonts?  Pictures?

Gimmicks for dressing up your cover letter come and go, but the best methods for updating a cover letter stick around.  Here are six ways to update your cover letter that won’t make hiring managers roll their eyes when they see it:

Start with the job description.

Review the job description, the employer’s website and any other information you gathered during your search.  Underline or circle the words and phrases that indicate not only what the company needs in this position, but how they want it done.

Write to each hiring manager individually.

A one-size-fits-all cover letter is as weak as a one-size-fits-all resume – and it’s even easier to spot.  Each time, write a letter to this hiring manager and this company.  While you might recycle certain information, like your recent experience, keep it fresh each time.  How can you help this particular person and company reach their business goals?

Tell a story.

Your resume summarizes the most relevant moments of your career. Don’t waste your cover letter doing the same thing.  Instead, choose your strongest recent accomplishment: One that shows your strengths and is relevant to the job you’re applying for.  In your cover letter, describe the problem you faced, the action you took and the results.  Talk about how your accomplishment has positioned you to help this employer.

Get specific.

While describing your accomplishments, use concrete numbers and data wherever you can.  For instance, instead of simply saying, “I helped improve our efficiency,” say “I helped increase the speed of X process by five percent, which allowed us to generate an additional $50,000 in revenue.”

Share a vision.

By now, you should have a good idea of the company’s vision.  In your cover letter, talk about your own career vision and how it merges with the company’s.  Show how hiring you would help both the employer and you achieve your shared goals.

Mind the format.

Always respect the job posting’s or hiring manager’s preference as to cover letter format.  For instance, if the job posting states that cover letters should be uploaded to the application system, don’t send one in the mail.  If the posting asks you to type your cover letter in the body of an email, don’t include it as an attachment.  Demonstrate you read and followed the instructions, and you’ll automatically rank ahead of every candidate who did not.

At FootBridge Energy Services, our recruiters connect professionals with the best employers in the oil and gas industry.  To supercharge your search for your next career move, contact us today.