Get Your Foot In The Door With A Great Cover Letter
Many business professionals believe that submitting their resume is all there is to making a good impression with a prospective employer, but that just is not the case. Many employers will look for cover letters before they ever get to the resume.
If there is no cover letter, the resume does not get the time of day. If the cover letter is not well written, the resume never sees the light of a day. How well you write a cover letter is almost as important, if not more important, than how well you are able to write and format your resume.
A cover letter is a great tool for business professionals to use because it allows them to infuse a bit more personality than does a resume. Your personality is just as important to an employer as your skills, education, and experience that you will list on your resume. Your cover letter allows you to introduce your personality, which will go well with a well-written resume to give the best first impression possible. You want your cover letter to stand out, you want it to read well, and you want the person to generally be interested in whom you are and what you can bring to the table.
There are several things you can do to achieve a truly great cover letter:
· Use your current connections. If you are applying for a job with a company or firm employs people you already know, ask them for a referral, or ask them if you can list them as a reference. You can start your cover letter off with a statement that you have a mutual business associate that thought you should consider applying for the position. While this may not hold weight with some recruiters and employers, it will with others and it’s worth a shot. You’ll at least get a second look if you show that you have some of the same business connections.
· Send your cover letter and resume to a specific person at the firm or company you are interested in gaining employment with. When you are able to address a specific person in your cover letter it shows the employer that you have taken a considerable amount of interest in the company to get the name of the person that will be reading your resume. Knowing this information will show that you are a go getter and you have a genuine interest in working in the position for which you are applying.
· Do not get too wordy in your cover letter. If you get long winded you will lose the readers interest quickly and they won’t bother with your resume or an interview. Instead, briefly describe a recent accomplishment that is relevant to the job that you are applying for. Include information about which you are that they may not have known otherwise. This will make the reader more interested in who you are in addition to making your resume more interesting because it isn’t just an expanded version of your cover letter.
· Make your goal known. Don’t be afraid to be specific about the job you want, why you want it, and why you think that you would be the best person for the job. You’ll find that you can impress people and get your foot in the door if you research the company and get specific information about sales, philosophies, or places where the company could be doing better and you could help. You should avoid being negative about the current state of the company, but don’t hesitate to write why you would be a good member of the team and how the company as a whole would benefit from your presence, experience, and drive.
· Make sure to end your cover letter with a “call to action” which is the request of the employer to either call or email you to follow up with your letter. You can also state that you will follow up in the near future as well, but you would really like to hear from them to discuss the position and your qualifications in a more in depth manner.
· Double-check your work. Don’t send your cover letter without reading it through at least three to five times. It’s a good idea to print out the cover letter and read it on paper instead of just trying to proofread on your computer screen. Make sure that you don’t send the wrong cover letter to the wrong company if you’ve used specific names of a person or company. Be sure to check for spelling and grammar errors that may turn the reader off from requesting more information or an interview with you. If you’ve stated in your cover letter that you are attaching your resume, make sure to follow through on this statement. When you read through your cover letter you may want to read it aloud so that you can be sure that all of your thoughts go together well and there is a natural flow. You want something that will draw the reader in and keep their interest until the last period.
Writing a great cover letter generally is not that difficult, you just shouldn’t hurry through the process. You need to remember that this is the first thing that your prospective employers will see from you, and you want to make a great impression. Remember that this is your chance to infuse your application process with a bit of your personality to make you more likable to the employer. Keep your cover letter professional, but lighten up a little bit and keep the reader as interested as possible. Remember that employers see a ton of cover letters for every position that they attempt to fill, so try to stand out. Use a different font, use a different hook, have more information, make sure that you come across as truly excited about this job opportunity.