Creating A Powerful Cover Letter
When applying for a job, cover letters and resumes are of invaluable help. Although they can be used individually, the synergic effect of presenting them together will provide a sizeable advantage. Despite the fact that most of us are aware of the rigors of a well written resume, few grasp the importance of a good cover letter.
The cover letter will recap your experience and skills, emphasize your willingness to work in the position you are applying for and explains how you can contribute to the company’s well-being. Last but not least, it helps you stand out from other candidates and acts as an extra incentive to call you for an interview.
Now, you don’t need to be a specialist to write a good cover letter, all you have to do is stick with the following steps.
Research the employer. Take some time and search the internet for information about your employer. Take a look at the company’s website, and try to obtain data about their earnings, recent news about their business, and their perspectives. Only then can you begin writing a cover letter that will fit the employer’s profile.
Personalize your letter. Begin your cover letter by addressing a specific person, rather than with an impersonal opening formula. Avoid “Dear Sir or Madam” or other such phrases, and try to get the hiring manager’s name instead. Call the secretary or receptionist of the company for the needed name.
Straight to the subject. Open with a powerful paragraph stating how you came across their offer. Get straight to the point and explain why you are interested in the job opening, while avoiding anything that will clutter the letter, like witty, funny remarks. Do not brag, as it will only make you appear insincere.
Highlight your values. After the introductory paragraph, start explaining how your expertise can help the company by offering examples. Select your most relevant skills, and bring them to attention once more. If you are applying for, say, a sales position, tell them how you could boost sales by a certain percent or how you can push the product to a more difficult consumer segment.
Be bold. After the body of the letter, and the usual paragraph where you express gratitude for their time and interest, highlight your following steps. Let them know that you intend to contact them again to check the status, and include your contact information in case the company wants to contact you first. This is a great way to express enthusiasm and show initiative, improving the way the employer perceives you.
Having stated what you should do, here are the common mistakes you should avoid.
One step at a time. Do not bring up wages or the job title before you know they are willing to take you. Wait until you get a positive reaction from the employer, as to make sure you’re what they are looking for, before you mention the things you want from them.
Double check for errors. After you have finished writing your letter, use the spell checker, read it again, correct it if need be, and then have a friend read it to double check. Even a couple of typographical errors can spring doubts about your professionalism or the effort you are willing to put into your work.
Format compatibility. When emailing a letter, make sure you take out all the formatting. A good way to make sure is to copy paste it into notepad and back again. Any leftover format, like alignment, underline, or bold can make your letter look like a mangled up, failed experiment consisting of scrambled words and letters when the text goes through the email. Also, avoid attachments, as it makes it easier to read straight from the email body, rather than downloading a possibly corrupt file.
As a final note, just remember, if you are going to spend hours working on a resume, give yourself a better chance by also submitting a well-written cover letter.