Some career experts have declared the cover letter as dead, unnecessary, a waste of your time because few people read it.
Well, we’re here to tell you the news of the death of the cover letter is premature: A cover letter is a terrific sales tools as you work for the “sale” of finding a terrific job. Hiring managers do read them (often after they’ve scanned your resume). It can be the factor in whether or not you’re called in for an interview, so be sure to make yours as good as possible.
Below are some tips to help you write a stand-out cover letter:
Remember that your resume and cover letter work to sell your skills, background and experience to an employer. The goal is to get an interview (the interview[s] get you the job).
- Keep the cover letter short, no more than one page.
- Find the name of the hiring manager and send the cover letter/resume/application to him or her. Send an application, etc. to human resources, sure, but do your best to find the name and title of the person who has hiring authority. (often just a look at a company’s website’s directory can get you a name, or even a simple phone call).
- Don’t mention work experience that’s not on your resume.
- Be professional and business-like. No attempts at humor
- Be specific. Mention the position for which you’re applying. Tell the hiring manager why you want to work at the company” “I’m at the point in my career where I want to work for a leader in my industry, and your company is one of those leaders.” This shows the hiring manager that you’ve done some research on his company. You’d be surprised how many applicants end a resume/cover letter without knowing anything about the company — or even the position to which they are applying! Just a little research will go a long way to impressing the hiring manager.
- Show the hiring manager what you can do for the company. Briefly detail how your skills and experience are a good match for the position. Give one example of how your expertise helped a former employer: “Last year, I increased the increased my closing quota by 50 percent compared to the previous year.” “Over the previous few months I’ve revamped my company’s accounting system, for an increased savings of $2,000 per month.”
- End the letter by telling the hiring manager you will follow up with her by a certain time in the next week (allow at least five days) and then call or e-mail as you said you would.
- Double and triple-check your cover letter (and resume) for typos and grammatical errors. Some hiring managers receive so many applications that they screen the first wave of applicants by tossing all that have errors in them!
If you’re looking for a great job, check us out. Pinnacle Recruiting and Human Capital Solutions is one of Manitoba’s premier staffing services: we know the decision makers at many of the area’s best companies and we can help you secure a great position with one of them. Contact us today.
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