How difficult is it to write a cover letter that makes a great first impression on a potential employer, highlights your best qualities, and makes you stand out? With the right information, it’s really not that difficult. The good news is that a cover letter that does all these things will practically guarantee you an interview.
Most people dread writing cover letters, and so they either find one that looks right online to copy and paste their information into, or they just skip it. Both are big mistakes. Hiring managers (the person who will be your future boss) expect to see a cover letter with your resume. A missing cover letter may plant the seed that you’re lazy, clueless, or not as interested in the job as the next person. A bad cover letter can be even worse. The most common cover letter mistakes that job seekers make are sending letters that are too long, too hard to read, or too generic.
The first key to writing an interview-generating cover letter is to understand is that the job search itself is a sales process, and your cover letter is the very first place you will begin to sell yourself for the job. In this process, you are the ‘product’ and the hiring manager, or employer, is the ‘buyer.’ You want them to buy your product, which is to hire you.
There’s a psychology to that process that you need to understand in order to be successful at it. Think about yourself as a customer, or a consumer. You see things that interest you and make decisions to buy it (or not) based on what’s in it for you. If that product can solve a problem for you or provide a service you need, you’ll buy it.
Your cover letter is basically a commercial, or an ad that should grab the interest of the reader (by telling them what’s in it for them) and make them want to know more, by reading your resume. Why should they be interested in you? What can you do for them?
A Good Cover Letter:
Clearly shows why they should be talking to you about this job Makes them excited to read your resume (but doesn’t copy and paste from it) Is targeted to that job, at that company, with that hiring manager Gets your point across quickly (three paragraphs max) Includes quantified information about your accomplishments Is very easy to skim and still get all the information (using bullet points) Is polite, professional, and friendly Closes with a Call to Action (such as, ‘I will call within a few days to speak with you further.’)
A cover letter that does all these things will practically guarantee you an invitation to interview.
Find step-by-step cover letter writing instructions (and see examples) in my Free Report, How to Write Attention-Getting Cover Letters.
About the author
Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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