Just like the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, the “humble” cover letter gets no respect.
Job-seekers spend so much time and energy on their resumes they’ve got nothing left to offer their poor, neglected cover letters.
Big, BIG mistake!
It is the well-written cover letter not the resume that can single-handedly land you more job interviews. The cover letter is your one chance to really “market” yourself to an employer using proven marketing strategies rarely found in the typical cover letter.
Conversely, there’s only so much you can do with the traditional CV or resume. I believe the carefully crafted cover letter is more important to your job search success than any other written document, including the resume.
As a direct marketing professional for over 20 years, I bring to you my 7 secrets of a highly-effective resume cover letter:
1. ADDRESS your cover letter to a specific person. Do your best to find out “To Whom” you should address your cover letter. “Dear Manager” is lifeless.
2. OPEN with an attention-grabbing first sentence to really grip the reader. This will almost guarantee your cover letter and resume get a closer look.
3. REMEMBER less is more. The best cover letters have plenty of white space. Cover letters that are clear, focused, short and sweet land more job interviews period.
4. FOCUS on what you can do for the employer. How can you benefit the company specifically? Do a little research and relate this simply and clearly in your letter.
5. CHOOSE WORDS that show enthusiasm and passion for the position you seek… (big, big secret!) Then, carry this passion into the interview with you.
6. REQUEST ONE ACTION you want the employer to take: “I would really like the opportunity for a personal interview this week.” (You never know until you ASK.)
7. END your cover letter with something enthusiastic and telling like, “I look forward to being interviewed at your earliest convenience. Thank you so much for this opportunity.” Sincerely, Jane Jobseeker. (Notice how Jane assumes she’ll land the interview? This is clever, smart, and it works like a charm).
Think of your cover letter as a sales letter. The only purpose of your resume cover letter is to land you more job interviews. That’s the bottom line. By using the proven marketing strategies I’ve outlined above you will land more quality job interviews than your competition.
You must find a way to get your “foot in the company door” to have any chance of landing the job. With the right cover letter you can blow the doors of opportunity wide open. And remember, more job interviews translate to (drum roll please)… more job offers.
Finally, the most important advice I can offer you is this: FOLLOW-UP every job lead, contact, and communication. Following up is the “golden key” to getting hired for the job of your dreams. Use follow-up cover letters, thank you letters, even follow-up phone calls. Following-up can literally double your chance for success. It is also the one secret ingredient missing from 99% of every job-seeker’s playbook.
Good news for you!