By Meghan Morris, Madrid

Your cover letter’s few paragraphs can mean the difference between the “rejection” and “consideration” piles for your next job interview – but how do you move from the former to the latter?

The cover letter is a document sent with your resume, allows you to expand on the short bullet points listed on your resume and LinkedIn profile. It’s a chance to be creative – but not too creative – in demonstrating why you’re the perfect candidate for the job(s) for which you’re applying.

The best cover letters:

  • Explain why you’re interested in the specific organization
  • Are tailored to each specific position for which you apply
  • Identify your relevant skills and experiences
  • Succinctly summarize all of the above

Before you open a new Microsoft Word document to start typing your cover letter, think through an outline with the following questions in mind: How do all of the bullet points on your resume come together to make you the best candidate for this job? What are you bringing from your professional background that uniquely qualifies you? What might a recruiter miss that your resume can’t explain – for example, interpersonal skills?

The cover letter is your best, and only, chance to make a great first impression. Once you have these ideas in mind, look at a few of the hundreds of templates available online.

Write your four to five paragraphs, proofread and step away – then return to the cover letter a day later to see if you clearly conveyed your intentions.

If you’re still stuck, PlanetBPM is here to help. Our team has collectively written dozens of cover letters personally, and helped young adults search for jobs in Europe across industries. Email to set up an in-person or Skype appointment, and check out our other resources at Planet’s sister site, Jobs All Over Europe.