En Route: A Career Blog

Make Your Cover Letter Work For You

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: September 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Most job applicants believe they are the perfect candidate when they submit their resume for consideration. Sometimes they even go so far as to say so in their cover letter. Unfortunately, they don’t always say much more.

If you want your cover letter to provide the additional impact you need to land the job, keep these tips in mind.

Keep It Simple, Sweetie

Recruiters and hiring managers are busy people. They look at dozens (maybe even hundreds) of cover letters and resumes daily. They don’t want your life story, a dissertation, or a recap of your college adventures. Cover letters should be brief, concise, and conversational. They should add and clarify not repeat what is in your resume. Learn to say what you need to in less than 300 words.

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Know Your Audience

Before you write your ‘brief, concise, and conversational’ cover letter, take the time to know the employer. Visit their website, try out their products, and check out social media to learn more. You’ll be better equipped to help them see why you’re the candidate of choice.

Then as you write your cover letter, share your experiences. Don’t go overboard and gush. Instead, explain why you use their products, why you believe in the company’s mission, or how the industry affects your life. Let the hiring company know you’re not merely throwing your resume into the ring and hoping something good comes of it.

Know Yourself

You’re the only person who fully understands what you bring to the table. It’s not up to the hiring company to guess. Be sure to spell out exactly what traits set you apart from other candidates.

Describe why you’re right for the job. Employers want to know how hiring you will benefit them. It’s the old WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Make sure to point out why you’re special. Do that by including results of your efforts. Without results – also known as accomplishments – you won’t sway any hiring manager or recruiter to invite you to interview.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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