When it comes to applying for a job, you have your resume all set, ready to go but as with most jobs you need that added boost: a cover letter.
For you Mario Fans out there, it is almost like you are about to fight Bowser & you need the Fire Power or Invincibility star to pop up so that you have an advantage.
Cover letters provide that boost and act as a resume translator for hiring managers. Yes, I realize that cover letters are not easy. They are not meant to be but they are there to help you with attaining your next position and not hurt your chances.
A wise colleague of mine once told me that, ‘cover letters show off the personality that does not exude itself from a resume’.
1. Be Concise. Filler is a killer. Case and point, do not write the romantic schpeal such as, ‘I like long walks on the beach, flying kites into the sunset’. However, DO reflect upon your achievements thus far and make the connection as to why you can go above and beyond any other candidate being considered for this position
Filler is a killer.
These words speak volumes to me as a recruiter and a person who plays a hand in the hiring process. If you cannot concisely describe why you are a great fit and what you can provide for the company that no one else can, you are not the best fit for the job. You did not prepare yourself for the cover letter. FAIL.
2. Show your personality. This does not mean you should lose your business sense and write unprofessionally, but your resume will reflect your experience but your cover letter reflects the examples and personality that is not represented on a resume. Bring that out in an appropriate manner.
3. Make the connection. Sometimes in life we have to reach out and take what we want or at least reach out and ASK for what we want. While it tough to do this make an attempt to explain why and how you can make a difference in this position for the company.
Do you know a person within the organization? Mention to that person you will be applying to the position and be sure to include this connection in your cover letter.
No, we do not need the entire length of history here, just a brief statement explaining the connection and importance 🙂
4. Research and review. Do some background research on the company and positions for which you are applying. If you do not know a single detail about the company, it makes it a lot harder to make the connection to the companies specific wants and needs for a position. Without knowing information about the company and their current events or recent news, it also makes you looks like a disinterested candidate during the job interview.
Utilize Google and also websites called GlassDoor and Linkedin to assist with your research and even locate the potential hiring managers or colleagues within the company.
4. Adjust accordingly and honestly. Your resume AND your cover letter should be altered to reflect the position you are applying for regardless of who you know and how well you think you may know the position.
In terms of the changes, do not change/lie/or misrepresent information on your resume but DO alter your resume to reflect how your experience matches the specific information listed or required for the position. Sell yourself but in an honest manner 🙂
Each cover letter should be different and adjusted according to the jobs and companies for which you will be applying. While most of the time the jobs remain the same, there will be different reasons for why you apply each time and how you can help that company.
5. Avoid General Salutations. The days of ‘Dear Human Resources Manager’ and ‘Dear Staffing team’ are gone. Most jobs these days do not provide direct contact with hiring managers because most managers work with staffing agencies like (Adecco, Randstad and Manpower). BUT a large chunk of managers and human resources managers do have profiles on Linkedin and that could be a great resource for reaching out to them regarding a position.
If all else fails, you can call the company directly and ask who is hiring for the opportunity. While that is bold, it is a solid approach in sales and has worked since the dawn of time.
Go the extra step and find out that information. Go the distance, Hercules, go the distance.
Please, please let’s hear some stories about your favorite type of cover letter, or even better…what are your thoughts on VIDEO cover letters? They seem to be taking off quite a bit.
Mr B says
My friend landed a job with a great company after he submitted his résumé in a DVD case. The front insert of the case being his cover letter, with his face photoshopped over Jim Carrey’s face from the cover of “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” Along the sides and top of the picture were little bits of info, written as if they were quotes from critics, like you’d see on any movie case, but these bits of info were actually about him and why he was the man for the job.
Awesome! That is such a creative idea that really paid off. You are right, most people forget that a job interview is also much similar to a date, it’s about finding the best personality fit for the job as well.
Thanks for sharing!