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.
The five biggest mistakes you can make on a cover letter
Your cover letter is one of the most important documents you will write in your job search. Some argue that it’s equally as important as the resume. Of course, every job will place a different amount of weight on the cover letter, but however important the cover letter is to an employer, there are some mistakes that you absolutely should not make. Here are some of the common pitfalls to avoid when writing your letter. Mistake – Bad spelling or grammar
This mistake is the most common, and what makes it so grievous is the fact that it’s completely avoidable. There is no excuse for bad spelling or grammar in a cover letter. If you’re not sure it’s perfect, have someone read over your work before you send it. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, and grammar mistakes in a cover letter tell an employer that you aren’t paying attention at best, and that you’re uneducated at worst. Mistake – “To Whom It May Concern”
While some form letters are written very well, they won’t really help you show that you’ve done your research on the company. Never let your cover letter be generic. Use a last name in your address if at all possible. The ‘To Whom it May Concern” intro just shows you don’t know how to pick up a phone and call to see who the hiring manager is, or you don’t know how to use Google. If you absolutely cannot find the name of a person in the company, make sure the address at least fits the position. For example, if you’re applying for a sales job, try “Sales Team Hiring Manager”.
Mistake – Using the company to further your own goals
Remember, that any employers wants to know how you will be an asset to the company, not the other way around. Don’t use your cover letter to explain how the company will help you achieve your dreams of being a clerical assistant. Explain how your particular skill set will increase productivity, and how your work in the past has demonstrated this. Mistake – Leaving it all up to the employer
Don’t end your cover letter with a line like “I hope to hear from you soon.” This takes things out of your hands. You want full control over the situation. Instead, say something like “I will email again on X day to arrange an interview.” If you’re not bold enough for this, at least make a commitment to follow up with the employer. Just be sure that if you set up a time for follow up, you comply without fail. Mistake – Ignoring the job posting
The job posting ad may have important instructions about how to submit a resume, and what needs to be included. If you ignore the ad, you run the risk of missing critical information, and having even a perfectly written cover letter ignored.
In the current economic downturn, more and more Americans are joining in the hunt for jobs. Positions that once received ninety resumes are now seeing applications in the hundreds.
Industry standards that once applied to resumes are now doubly, even triply true. You’d heard that employers skimmed through resumes before? You can only imagine how quickly they toss through the pile now.
With your resume as a single sheet in that huge stack of paper, creating a pertinent, easy to skim document is more important than ever. So more and more people are taking steps like hiring a professional resume writer to aid them in their job search.
Some people question the ethics of enlisting this type of aid, implying that you cannot present yourself in a genuine manner with the use of such a service, or that the need for help is a manufactured need, or even that the type of help provided leads to a non-accurate representation of one’s skills.
However, these statements seem to stem from a misunderstanding of what it is that the professional resume writer does.
To start with, what is a resume, exactly? It’s a marketing tool that advertises your skills and experience.
In your business, is it unethical to hire a marketing firm in order to sell your product? Probably not. It’s only logical to hire experts to help you in areas where their expertise is needed to improve sales.
A proper resume writer won’t represent you in a way that is not genuine. It is against our code of ethics, and would damage our reputations as professionals.
Let’s face it, in a consulting-type business, your reputation is really all you have. Not to mention that representing clients inaccurately would cause real problems for them, once uncovered.
What does a resume writer do? We take information, that you supply, of your past jobs and accomplishments, your education and experiences, your old resumes and supporting documents, job positions you are interested in and anything else you think we will need for resume preparation — and present you with a new document, tailored to the type of job that you’re pursuing while showcasing your strengths and promoting your value.
We have industry knowledge of certain words that will catch the boss’s attention in your line of business, and they know how HR filters documents. For one thing, did you know that these days, resumes are often scanned by computer for certain keywords?
Let’s be honest, the first thing we all do when faced with a huge stack of paper that we have to weed down to just a few sheets, is to get rid of as much as possible, as easily as possible. So, the first scan, whether by computer or an individual is for weeding out the chaff.
Industry hiring experts know what keywords are typically used in the computerized process and can ensure that your resume includes them. We also excel at aiding people in camouflaging gaps in history.
We are resume experts, and we know how to make yours clear and readable — after all, if those two attributes aren’t met, the rest falls by the wayside.