In this economy, the average candidate has most likely been job searching for an extended period. During that time, many have learned that cover letters need to be businesslike in tone, rather than using casual language as one would in an email or text to a friend. Most also realize that a cover letter should be addressed to a specific hiring manager or recruiter, instead of to ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or worse – ‘To Whom It May Concern’.
Recently, I saw a cover letter video that had additional, valuable tips.
What I found most interesting about the video are these points.
Have You Been Referred to the Company?
If you’re targeting the position because a friend or an acquaintance mentioned it, it’s wise to note that individual’s name in your cover letter. It makes you appear less of a stranger to a hiring manager or recruiter. It gives you a bit of credibility a stranger might not have. Recently, I addressed a question about referrals on Yahoo answers. The individual asking the question worried that naming names, so to speak, was tacky or came close to bragging. I explained that nothing could be further from the truth. If you know someone on the inside and they’re willing for you to use their name, then do so. However, first make certain that the individual is in good standing with the company.
Use Keywords to Describe Your Skills & Expertise
This is Cover Letter Writing 101. However, it’s important to repeat here. Use keywords to prove in your cover letter that you meet the requirements for the position. You should never use exact wording from the job posting, as that tends to irritate hiring managers and recruiters. However, you should dovetail what you do know and can do to what the job entails.
Follow Up Your Cover Letter & Resume with an Email
After a week passes, if you haven’t heard from the hiring manager or recruiter, send an email stating that you have applied for the position and you are still interested in it. Your email can – and should – detail how you’re the perfect candidate for the position. Not only will you be reminding the hiring authority that you did apply for the job (just in case they didn’t get your application materials), but that you’re still interested in interviewing for it.
Avoid These Mistakes
No matter how well your cover letter reads, it won’t win you an interview if you make these errors:
- Writing one cover letter for numerous positions without personalizing each. No one job is going to be exactly the same in any industry. If your cover letter contains information that isn’t included in a particular job description, it’s unlikely you’ll be invited to interview.
- Failing to name the position you want. Companies often post openings for numerous departments at the same time. If you’re making the hiring manager guess as to what you want, that individual will simply move on to the next candidate.
- Submitting an error-ridden document. All you have to do is misspell one word and you won’t be considered, especially for a position where attention to detail is required. Proofread your cover letter carefully. Have a relative or a friend proof it for you. Use spell and grammar check. Then proof it again.
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