Writing an interesting cover letter is the most difficult part of a job application for many people—it’s hard to both show your personality and be professional, and highlight your greatest achievements while still being humble and approachable. It can be especially challenging in the information technology field, since hiring managers or recruiters may not be familiar with the industry’s jargon. Additionally, a successful IT expert’s career largely entails cyber incident response, network and hardware maintenance, and troubleshooting, which aren’t necessarily inherently exciting.
However, that’s not to say that you can’t write a powerful cover letter as an IT professional. This article will cover several tips to help you produce an interesting cover letter that stands out from other applicants. If you need more inspiration, you may find it helpful to read some cover letter examples.
Research the company
First, do some basic research on the company before you begin writing your cover letter. Look for details about the hiring manager or department head as well as the culture, mission, and goals of the company.
This type of information can help inform your tone and the exact details that you include in your cover letter. If you see that the company is relatively staid in the language on their website, keep your cover letter more professional in tone and stick to the basics (your experience, skills, education, and certifications). However, if you see that they have a more down-to-earth, approachable vibe, you might wish to use a more casual and conversational tone in your cover letter.
Address the Hiring Manager by name
If you are able to find the name of the hiring manager either in your research or in the job posting, be sure to address your cover letter to them by name. Personalizing the letter in this way shows that you took the time to search out their name and that you aren’t using a cover letter that you copied and pasted from a template or a generic letter that you use for every application.
If you aren’t able to find this information, simply open your letter with “Dear Hiring Manager” or something similar.
Tailor your cover letter
However, don’t stop with just the hiring manager’s name when it comes to tailoring your cover letter. This document is an opportunity to expand upon the information that you have included in your resume and to make it clear that you have read the job posting carefully and understand what the employer is looking for. To that end, identify the key words and phrases that the employer uses and mirror that language in both your resume and your cover letter.
In your letter, explain how your specific IT experience, skills, and education make you the perfect candidate for the job. You can also highlight any transferable skills that you may have gained from past positions in other industries, from your hobbies and interests, or from other non-professional experiences.
The goal of tailoring your cover letter is to help your application pass automated applicant tracking system scans, show the employer that you read the job posting carefully and are a good fit for the job, and display that you respect the hiring process.
Quantify your achievements
Whenever possible, use numbers and data to quantify your achievements in your cover letter. For example, mention how many years of IT experience you have, the size of the networks you managed, how many IT team members you supervised, and so forth. Quantifying your accomplishments in this way makes them feel more concrete and more impressive. Hiring managers know that such statistics are relatively easy to verify, so applicants are more likely to be telling the truth when there’s a number or data point involved.
Showcase your personality
Finally, let your personality shine through in your cover letter, taking into account the research that you did about the company’s vibe. Even in a highly professional letter, the way you frame your sentences and discuss your qualifications will still inform the employer about your personality. Make it clear that you are excited about the opportunity and confident that your personality will mesh well with the existing team.