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Cover Letter Writing
Transcript of Cover Letter Writing
What a Cover Letter is:
A Strong Cover Letter is...
The Executive Summary
The executive summary approach to writing cover letters is one way to effectively demonstrate your credibility as it relates to a specific job. What does it look like?
Often the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager sees.
A clear, concise, and attention grabbing document that conveys the applicant's credibility as it relates to a specific job with a specific company/org.
Not poetic, or overly wordy.
A page - no more - formatted professionally and free of grammatical mistakes.
Often what determines whether or not a hiring manager takes the time to review your resume.
Tailored to a specific job with a specific company/org.
Grammatically Sound and Properly Formatted
Remember, ALL materials associated with your job hunt reflect on your credibility, including LinkedIn profiles, resumes, cover letters, thank you notes, emails, Facebook profiles, etc.
If your materials are poorly formatted, and have grammatical errors, they will have a negative impact on how you're perceived by possible employers.
A Mirror Image of Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
Any discrepancies in your job search materials when it comes to your experiences, time spent in certain roles, skills, etc. could make you look dishonest - and recruiters/hiring managers don't want to work with dishonest applicants.
One of the first things most recruiters and hiring managers do when they identify an applicant of interest is google them or look them up on LinkedIn or Facebook - make sure ALL of your materials are telling the exact same story.
Buzzing with Buzz-Words
Using 'Buzz-Words' in your cover letters and resumes - pulled from job-postings and company/organization websites - will help your materials standout, resonate strongly with hiring managers, be picked up in Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS's), and help you sound like a solid candidate for the position of interest.
Clear, Concise, Comprehensive, and Confident
The person reviewing your cover letter will typically want to spend as little time as possible identifying (1) if you're well qualified for their position, and (2) how well qualified you are for their position. The more clear, concise, confident, and comprehensive (I know, it seems counter to concise) you are, the better chances you have of being considered for the job.
You want to quickly, clearly, and confidently convince your reader that you're completely (comprehensively) qualified for their role.
Tailored to a Specific Job
Your cover letter should be written with a specific job in mind, and be tailored to that job based on research you have done. Some things that should contribute to how you tailor your cover letter are:
the job description
research you've done on the company/organization (its mission, its vision, its goals, its structure, its culture, etc.)
industry and job relevant buzz words
IF YOU USE THE SAME COVER LETTER FOR MULTIPLE JOB APPLICATIONS IT WILL BE OBVIOUS TO RECRUITERS AND HIRING MANAGERS, AND IT WILL NOT IMPRESS.
Quantified, Using Positive Descriptors!
"I have experience re-imaging computers." - NO!
"As a (blank) at Company X, I effectively re-imaged approximately 20 computers on a daily basis" - YES!
How many/much and how often = Quantification
If you can mention the positive impact of your actions ("which led to an x% increase in team efficiency"), do it!
Expresses your strong interest in the organization and open position, demonstrates your confidence in your ability to succeed in the role, and transitions effectively to the meat of your argument, for example: "I have attempted to concisely demonstrate below, how my experience, skills, and traits make me the ideal candidate for this position."
Reiterates your high level of interest in the position and the organization, re-establishes your confidence in your ability to succeed in the role based on your experience, qualifications, skills, etc.
Makes the ask for the in person interview!
Provides a systematic explanation of how your experience, qualifications, skills etc. line-up with those desired in the ideal candidate for the position of interest.
"I would love a personal interview at your earliest convenience to further discuss my credentials with you. I can be reached at 555.555.5555 and will follow up as well to make sure you’ve received my information."