For some strange reason there is a great deal written about how to craft the perfect resume, but much less attention is focused on the cover letter. The fact is that quite often it is the cover letter that the convinces the reader to even bother looking at your resume. It can certainly be the difference between a cursory glance and someone actually reading it and considering you for an interview.
The worst part is that people quite often make the biggest mistake in cover letter writing almost immediately. They make this mistake by addressing the letter to a “hiring manager”, or worse, “to whom it may concern.” Trust me, if you start your letter like this, it doesn’t concern them. No one likes to be thought of as a non-entity, and that is what you are doing when you address the letter to whomever happens to open the envelope.
Take the time and effort to find out the name of the person that is doing the actual hiring. Call the company and ask the secretary if you need to do so. Then address the letter to that person directly.
The body of the cover letter follows, and generally there need to be three short paragraphs. In the first one, briefly discuss why you are writing, what job you are applying for and mention where you learned about the job. If you have a mutual contact person, mention it here.
Move on to the second paragraph and briefly mention your skills, what you offer the company. Discuss how the skills listed in your resume translate into the job you are seeking. In the third paragraph, thank them for their consideration and let the person know how you will follow up within the next week. Be sure to actually follow up.
If the cover letter is mailed, then it needs a handwritten signature. If it is emailed, then a typed signature is fine. Be polite, be concise and be brief.
When creating cover letters, a common mistake is to essentially use the same letter every time. Many applicants change nothing more than the name of the company. This is a bad idea and you can be certain that your generic letter is seen as such by those who read it. The other common mistake is in tone. As a general rule, formal is better. But this is not always the case, though it is a safe fall back position.
I’m going to assume you have done your homework and know enough about the job you are seeking to be specific in your cover letter. If you don’t have that information, then get it before you begin writing. You cannot craft a decent cover letter without specifics.
The tone of the letter will be dictated on the position you are seeking. The rule is that the more authority the position has then the more formal the cover letter should be and the more specific. You want the letter to be brief but complete. It’s important to highlight your skills in relation to the specific job being offered and to explain why you are perfectly suited to the position.
Of course you will address the letter to the person doing the interviewing. If you don’t know who this is, then just call and ask. Address him or her formally throughout your letter. Never shorten someone’s name unless given permission to do so. Save the informal and friendly approach for your friends.
When writing a cover letter you want to get your point across as briefly as possible while showing respect to the reader. The tone should always err on the side of formality.
Online media is growing and with it so is the opportunity to apply for jobs online. Many companies now opt to advertise their job vacancies online as they know it will reach a massive range of people and they have every chance of finding someone perfect for the job – and much quicker than old fashioned methods of newspaper adverts and classified adverts.
For some reason people often feel much more relaxed about applying for a job online and assume that emailing a resume in order to apply for job doesn’t need the same attention to detail that a posted resume does. However, this isn’t the case and you should make sure that your resume and cover letter are perfect, even if you are applying via email.
Just because you are attaching your resume to an email that doesn’t mean that the cover letter shouldn’t include all of the relevant details. Your best bet is to treat the email body as you would a cover letter. This means that you need to make sure that you include all of the relevant details – the position you are applying for, why you would be perfect and how they can contact you for example.
When you are searching for jobs online they will often have a reference number attached to them. It is essential that you include this reference number in your email cover letter. Also make sure that your email has a subject to it – even if it is just “Job Vacancy Application” so that your email doesn’t get over looked and pushed to one side.
We all know the importance of a decent cover letter and why we need to use it to sell yourself when applying for a job. However, if you aren’t careful, you could make some of the most common mistakes made and that is going to harm your chances of being successful when applying for a job.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when writing their own cover letter is giving away too much information and being too truthful. Although no one is suggesting that you should lie on your cover letter there is a possibility that you can give too much away and put them off of hiring you.
For example, writing something like “I know I don’t have much experience, but I am a quick learner” is going to do you no favors. The whole point of your resume and cover letter is to sell yourself, not to give them a reason to move you off of the “to hire/to interview” list. Another example is telling the reader (who you don’t know) the reason why you left every job, OR what has been happening in your personal life. If you have a major job gap, it’s a good idea to touch on it briefly i.e. “After taking time off to raise a family…” or “After taking a year-long personal sabbatical…” You don’t ‘need to tell the reader that you were going through a messy divorce or needed to take time off work to decompress. Some things are better left unsaid. What you say could work against you.
Rather than concentrate on the negatives, turn it into something positive – so, for example, “Based on my unique experiences, I know I would be a valuable asset to your team,” or something similar will work for you. You are telling them that you feel you would fit in and that you are already considering the team that you are likely to work with.
Remain positive and show them why you would are the right choice for the position. Including these assets in the cover letter will help you be as successful as possible when it comes to finding your perfect job.
If you are taking the time to apply for a job and you want to be successful, then it makes sense that you ensure that your resume and cover letter are spot on when it comes to getting a potential employer’s attention.
There are different ways that you can do this, although making sure that your cover letter has the WOW factor is a big deal. There are several ways that you can go about achieving this, including:
- Have a strong opening for your letter. Remember that first impressions count so ensure that your cover letter has an opening summary that promotes exactly why you are the person they are looking for. Make examples of your experiences using the skills that they have listed in their job advert.
- Give them reasons to hire you. When you are listing your experiences and achievements, don’t just list them down. Give examples of when you went the extra mile or how you hard work helped to improve the way the company worked.
- Keep it short. As much as you need to list your experiences and skills, you have to remember that the person in charge of the vacancy will have a number of different cover letters and resumes to read through, so they’ll want to read them quickly. Makes yours stand out without writing too much text because they will simply lose interest and move onto the next cover letter that they have received.
If you stick to these simple steps, then you are well on your way to having the perfect cover letter and giving yourself the best chance of getting the job you have applied for.
When applying for a job it can be easy to assume that your resume is the most important part of your job application. While your resume is vital and helps to list your skills and experience in order to match you to a job, it isn’t the only thing that you need to include in your application.
When submitting your application for a job, you must include a cover letter in order for your application to be taken seriously. This means that you really need to pay as much attention to your cover letter as you would your resume.
Your cover letter needs to be tailored to the job that you are applying for. When you are typing your letter, link it to your resume and expand on what is mentioned and how that could be linked to the job in question. Mention your past experience and how that could help you do the job advertised perfectly and use it as an example of why they should hire you for the position above anyone else.
Keep in mind that on most occasions the cover letter is the first impression of your application that a prospective employer will get so you need to make sure that the impression is a good one. This means laying out the letter so it looks fantastic and professional, with no spelling or grammar mistakes in any of the text.
Use the letter to promote yourself and tell people why they should hire you but don’t go over the top. Simply tell them what they need to know and why they should employ you and leave it at that. Wrap the letter up with thanking them for their time and inviting them to contact you should they have any further questions.
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If you are applying for a job vacancy, then it makes sense that you will want to give yourself the best possible chance of being successful. Whether you are looking for a job because you are unemployed or you simply want to climb up the job ladder, it stands to reason that you will be passionate about getting the job.
It is easy to get carried away with concentrating on your resume and making sure this is up to scratch but that isn’t the only direction your concentration and efforts should be pointed. Your resume is very important, however, you also need to bear in mind that often the cover letter that you send is the first impression potential employers will get of you. It is reading this letter that will help them decide whether or not to read your resume.
This means that you need to pay careful attention to your cover letter with regards both the content of it and the layout in order to create the right impression.
The first thing that you need to include in your letter is your contact information. If they are interested in you and what you have to say, they don’t want to waste time trying to hunt out how to get in touch with you – you need to make this clear and easy to find.
When you are starting your letter always ensure that the salutation includes the name of the person recruiting if you know it as this is bound to get you brownie points.
When it comes to the main content of your letter you need to let the person reading it know what the position is that you are applying for and why they should employ you above anyone else applying.
Close your cover letter professionally inviting them to contact you if they need any further information and letting them know that you look forward to hearing from them soon.