Cover Letter Professional Accountant Examination

It’s a good time to be a job seeker: U.S. job growth is strong, unemployment is on a steady decline, and openings are at an all-time high.

That doesn’t make the search any less daunting. Differentiating yourself from every other job seeker on the market is no small feat, and the monotony of filling out online applications can make the task downright exhausting. That’s where a killer cover letter comes in.

Done right, a great cover letter is like a secret weapon for catching a hiring manager’s attention. Next to your resume, it’s one of the most important, underutilized tools at your disposal.

Here are some cover letter writing tips, and a free, downloadable template, to make yours stand out.

1. Personalize

Every cover letter you write should be tailored to the job you’re applying for — just like your resume. Study the job posting carefully, and make a quick list of any essential qualifications.

“Job seekers really struggle with what to say on a cover letter,” says Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. “Taking a second to think about why you’re applying, and why you’re a good fit for the company, makes the process a lot easier.”

If you’re adding a cover letter to an online application, use a business letter format with a header and contact information. If you’re sending an email, it’s OK to leave out the header, but be sure to provide a phone number (and an attached resume, of course). Make sure you’re clear about the position you’re applying for.

Avoid nameless salutations — it might take a little Google research, and some LinkedIn outreach, but finding the actual name of the position’s hiring manager will score you major brownie points. “Do not start a cover letter with, ‘to whom it may concern,’” Holbrook Hernandez says. “It concerns no one.”

2. Tell a Story

To grab a recruiter’s attention, a good narrative—with a killer opening line—is everything.

“The cover letter is a story,” says Satjot Sawhney, a resume and career strategist with Loft Resumes. “What is the most interesting thing you’re doing that’s relevant to this job?” Use that to guide your letter.

Ideally, the story that drives your resume will focus on a need at the company you’re applying for. If you’re a PR professional, maybe you have a list of clients in an industry the team wants to break into. If you’re in marketing, a successful promotional campaign might be the ticket in. “A hiring manager wants to see results-driven accomplishments with a past employer,” says Holbrook Hernandez. “If you’ve done it before, you can deliver it again.”

If you have a career gap or are switching industries, address it upfront. “If there’s anything unique in your career history, call that out in the beginning,” says professional resume writer Brooke Shipbaugh.

(Here’s a downloadable sample.)

3. Use Bullet Points to Show Impact

Hiring managers are usually slammed with applications, so short, quick cover letters are preferable to bloated ones, says Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of human resources at job site Indeed.

“Make your cover letter a brief, bright reference tool,” he says. The easier you can make it on the recruiter the better.”

Bullet points are a good tool for pulling out numbers-driven results. Job seekers in creative fields like art and design can use bullets to break down their most successful project. Those in more traditional roles (like the one in the template), can hammer off two or three of their most impressive accomplishments.

4. Highlight Culture Fit

It’s often overlooked, but a major function of the cover letter is to show a company how well you’d mesh with the culture.

As you research a potential employer, look for culture cues on the company website, social media, and review sites like Glassdoor. Oftentimes, employers will nod to culture in a job posting. If the ad mentions a “team environment,” it might be good to play up a recent, successful collaboration. If the company wants a “self-starter,” consider including an achievement that proves you don’t need to be micromanaged.

The tone of your letter can also play to culture. “The cover letter is a great place to show [an employer] how you fit into their world,” Shipbaugh says. “Show some personality.”

5. End with an Ask

The goal of a cover letter is to convince the person reading it to make the next move in the hiring process — with a phone call, interview, or otherwise. Ending on a question opens that door without groveling for it.

“You have to approach this with a non-beggar mentality,” Sawhney says. “Having an ‘ask’ levels the playing field.”

Related: What Your Resume Should Look Like in 2018

 

Accounting cover letter example

This example cover letter for accountants is strong because it sticks to cover letter best practice. It is less than a page and within the optimum word limit. The details are correct and titles specific, which indicates that this candidate has done their research and checked their facts. The most impressive skills and experience from the candidate’s resume have been included, without the document having been simply repeated.

This cover letter is also strong because it exhibits personality, ambition and passion. The candidate has detailed why he wants to work at this company, and why he is best suited for the role. The format is neat, with each idea or point broken into its own short paragraph. The sign off is courteous and the employer is thanked for his time. The candidate’s personal details are available in full and easy to read should the employer want to contact the candidate.

The way in which you write and communicate key messages in your accounting cover letter is just as important as the actual experience and content you include, so make sure yours is suitably formatted, neat and easy to read for every role you apply for.

Take a look at our cover letter tips page for more cover letter writing tips and examples.

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