As a job seeker, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a cover letter. If written strategically, a cover letter increases your chances for consideration, and provides an opportunity to highlight your individuality.
A cover letter is much more than just a letter stating, “I read the job announcement in Sunday’s classified, please accept this letter as an application of interest”. It is a statement that tells the reader what they can expect from you if hired.
The challenging part of writing a cover letter is determining what information to include. After all, all the juicy information was included in the resume. What could you possibly add to the cover letter that will add substance to your qualifications?
Keep in mind that the resume and cover letter have different purposes. A resume demonstrates that you can do the job, it highlights your past accomplishments, while a cover letter points out the extent to which you match the job requirements for a specific a company and how you will fit in.
A well-written cover letter gives you an advantage over your competition because it provides another opportunity to showcase your experience and qualifications.
Cover Letter Basics
Cover letter basics can be mastered by following the pointers below.
1. Sell! Sell! Sell!
A cover letter is more than just a business letter; it is a sales letter. Begin with a strong introduction, layout the benefits you offer, and establish credibility by showcasing your accomplishments.
2. Write as You Speak
The cover letter should have a professional conversational tone, but sound as though a real person wrote it. Many people fall in the trap of using big word to communicate their message. Instead, write in a straightforward manner that entices the reader to review the resume. The words you choose should demonstrate enthusiasm for the position, company and industry.
3. Write from the Reader’s Perspective
Action words should not be reserved for the resume. Begin each sentence with a power word. Don’t use a passive voice. Avoid starting sentences with the word “I.” Like the resume, the cover letter’s focus is on the hiring company, and beginning too many sentences with “I” puts the spotlight too much on you.
4. Don’t Rehash your Resume
Be creative when presenting your qualifications and accomplishments. You don’t want to bore the reader by simply repeating the information you included in your resume. Find different ways to communicate the same message. The best way to do this is by selecting three to five major selling points and highlighting them in the body of the cover letter. Doing so will entice the reader to do more than just glance at your resume.
5. Ask for an Interview
Be proactive. In the last paragraph tell the reader that you will be contacting him or her to setup a meeting time. After all, the purpose of applying for a job is to be invited in for an interview, so don’t be shy, go for it.
You should use every tool at your disposal to secure an interview. Targeted cover letters add to your portfolio of qualifications and deserve as much consideration as a resume.
So how does your cover letter measure up? Is it compelling enough to motivate the HR person who is skimming it to take the next step and look at your resume? Does it contain the cover letter basics? Are you getting calls for interviews? Is you job search nearing the end? If not then you need to consider what things should be changed to get you the result you want a new job.
You need a cover letter that will get you noticed and compel the reader to look at your resume and consider you a potential candidate for the position. We can help! Contact us so that we can personally design a professionally written cover letter, resume and related documents to launch your job search in the right direction. Every package that we create is designed to make you shine and highlight your accomplishments. Contact Us Today!
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