Potential employers receive thousands of job applications every day, and a cover letter is your chance to make a great first impression. A well-crafted cover letter can help you stand out in a sea of applicants and increase your chances of getting hired. However, in today’s competitive job market, simply having a good cover letter is no longer enough. You need an optimal cover letter that is SEO optimized to catch the attention of hiring managers and recruiters.
What is an SEO-optimized cover letter?
Recruiters and hiring managers use search engines and applicant tracking systems (ATS) to filter through job applications quickly. An SEO-optimized cover letter incorporates the use of keywords and format that improve your visibility in search results.
How to craft an SEO-optimized cover letter
A successful SEO-optimized cover letter contains several components, including the header, introduction, body, and conclusion. Each section should be written with both persuasion and optimization for maximum impact.
The header of your cover letter is where you insert your personal information, such as your name and contact details. Make sure to include the job title in this section to increase relevance when the recruiter searches.
In your introduction, grab the attention of the reader with an impressive opening statement that entices them to read further. Apply the same concept of using the relevant keywords in this section, make use of industry terms, and the company name as these tend to be the most search terms.
The body of the cover letter is where the focus of attention is. In this section, provide details about your relevant skill sets and work experiences. Use bullet points where possible to make it easier for recruiters to scan through your cover letter to pick out key details.
Close off your letter using a call-to-action, inviting the recruiter to contact you to learn more about your qualifications. Use keywords such as interview, meet, and discuss to optimize this section.
How To Format a Cover Letter for SEO Optimisation
Apart from the written content, proper formatting of the cover letter is also critical for SEO optimization. Choose a format that is easy for the recruiter to read and create white space for the eye to be able to scan through the letter in a matter of seconds. Here are some additional formatting tips to keep in mind:
Use bullet points and numbering where possible to break up long paragraphs. This will make your cover letter more skimmable.
Use clear and legible fonts such as Arial or Calibri, keep the size between 10-12 points for ease of reading.
Divide your letter into different sections with bold headers. This will make it easier for the recruiter to navigate through the letter and find what they are looking for quickly.
Examples of SEO-Optimized Cover Letters
An SEO-optimized cover letter is only as good as the results it delivers. Here are some examples of cover letters that are well optimized for SEO and were successful:
- Example 1: HR Manager – Successful applicant talks about their people management skills, human resources experience, and their affiliation with HR networks, tailored for the job title “HR manager”.
- Example 2: Digital Marketing Strategist – The candidate includes SEO-optimized keywords, such as PPC, social media, email marketing, and Google Analytics to target the organization searching for “Digital Marketing Strategist”.
Common Errors to Avoid
Avoid the following key mistakes when crafting an SEO-optimized cover letter:- Keyword stuffing – don’t include too many keywords in your letter- Copying content from elsewhere – Always write original content- Using irrelevant keywords – Don’t try to trick search engines by using buzzwords that don’t match your qualifications.- Focusing solely on SEO – Don’t forget that your goal is to create an optimized cover letter that’s still engaging and persuasive, otherwise your letter will be overlooked.
Writing an SEO-Optimized cover letter is becoming an essential part of a well-executed job search strategy, especially in a competitive job market. Using relevant keywords and proper formatting can help maximize your search engine visibility and increase the chances of being noticed by recruiters. Focus on optimizing your writing style while still maintaining your unique voice and, most importantly, keep practising.
Why is an SEO-optimized cover letter important?
Having an SEO-optimized cover letter increases your visibility to recruiters and hiring managers in today’s competitive job market.
What is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of overloading your content with keywords repeatedly in an attempt to manipulate search engines to rank higher. This will result in a bad user experience that can potentially harm your application.
Can I copy content from elsewhere in my cover letter?
No. You need to write your own unique content that accurately reflects your skills and experience. Plagiarized content can harm your chances of getting hired.
What is the best font and font size for a cover letter?
Go with a clear and legible font such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri with a size of 10-12 points.