What Is The Cover Letter?
Most people hate writing a cover letter even more than they hate preparing a resume! I recently worked with a job seeker who said that he refused to apply for any graduate roles that required a cover letter to accompany the application. This is was what I liked to call a “resume bomber” – someone whose aim is to apply to as many jobs as possible and just “hope for the best”. Unfortunately, he quickly realised that most companies not only require a cover letter, but demand a cover letter. If a hiring manager sees that a cover letter is missing from the job application, it is more than likely that the resume will be deleted immediately. From the viewpoint of a hiring manager – if the candidate cannot follow basic instructions in applying for a job, how can they be trusted to perform the job?
Before we begin to go through the importance of the cover letter, it is important to define exactly what the cover letter is and what purpose it serves.
The cover letter is an introductory letter to accompany the resume or curriculum vitae. The cover letter is not a job application, nor should it be a part of the resume or follow the conclusion of the resume.
In the competitive job environment where first impressions count and the time we have to impress the potential reader is becoming shorter and shorter, the most effective way to ensure that your application stands out from the competition is through a professionally written cover letter. There is, however, a fine line between a cover letter that enhances your application and a cover letter that can actually do you a disservice.
Top 3 Tips to Cover Letter Writing:
You may have the greatest personality and the exact skills required for a particular job, but without a compelling cover letter that attracts the reader’s attention immediately you will never get the opportunity to prove that you are the perfect candidate. Establish your reason for applying to the role within the first couple of sentences. As a job seeker you need to establish your “brand” and make it clear to the reader that you have unique attributes that make you the perfect person for the job.
Target your cover letter:
A “one size fits all” approach to job seeking does not work. There is no quick fix to getting a new job and a generic cover letter will be spotted from a mile away! The key to cover letter writing is to individualise the cover letter to the reader and make sure that they know that your letter has been written for their specific job. A targeted cover letter can help open doors and portray that professional image.
Forget the Clichés!
I can’t stand clichés! It’s my number one pet hate. When I read through a cover letter, I want the person’s personality to shine. The last thing I want to read is a cliché. As the hiring manager, I want to feel that what I am reading is a truthful assessment as opposed to statements that do not add any value to the person’s application.
The final point to remember…
If you are serious about your job search, you need to get serious about preparing a targeted cover letter to compliment your resume. As mentioned above, first impressions rule and to ensure that your resume is given a chance, you need your cover letter to shine. In the ultra competitive job environment, hiring managers are looking for any excuse to delete a candidate’s application. Do not let yourself down by failing at the very first step.
© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com
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