Your cover letter is your chance to shine, if you’re really up to the task. Some job-seekers treat these valuable documents as little more than an introduction to their resume, but cover letters can be so much more if you invest the time to craft them well.
Don’t forget these cover letter musts:
What’s In It For Me?
Perhaps the biggest mistake job seekers make, from entry-level resume writing through executive resume writing, is formatting their job package as a list of characteristics and events, but completely forgetting the obvious question every employer needs answered. When someone reads your resume, they don’t just want the facts, they want to know how those facts can be applied to their particular problems — the “What’s In It For Me?” Factor.
Sure, you have management skills, but your cover letter is a powerful place to showcase how that can be translated into a real benefit for the employer. Selling yourself is just like selling a vacuum cleaner — your best features aren’t enough, the world needs to see how they translate into solutions.
Your Knowledge of the Company
In order to really “wow” your future employer with the benefits you can bring to the company, you have to understand what it is that they do and how you’ll fit into the framework. This is where your research skills will come in to play. Get online, read up on the company and find out exactly what makes that corporate heart beat.
Show your employer you bothered to understand the company by including a short statement or two that demonstrate how you’ll fit into the corporate culture and how your experience is pertinent to the particular position you’re applying for. Remember, your resume is meant to enhance your resume, so don’t just regurgitate what’s on that document — now’s the time to elaborate.
Tell them how your last job was all about customer retention and since they’ve been losing revenue to the competition, you think you’re the perfect person to bring about a stop to the problem. Even if you’re just looking for a job in the mail room, there’s something you have that you’re bringing to the job that no one else can offer — figure out what that is and showcase it in your cover letter.
Some Indication You Want the Job
Believe it or not, it’s not considered bad manners to ask for the job you’re seeking in some subtle way in your cover letter. Many employers like to see that a future employee is enthusiastic about working for their company, so be sure to end your letter on that note. A simple, “I’m looking forward to your call” can suffice, but it’s even better if you set plans for future contact. Instead of asking them to call you, tell them you’ll be doing the calling and be specific — name a time and date for your follow-up.
Cover letters are more than a fancy introduction for your resume, they’re a partner in your job-seeking process. Take advantage of this powerful tool and you’ll soon find employers competing for your attention.