So, your dream job (or the job you found trolling internet job boards) requires the most dreaded thing….a cover letter!!! Cue the scary music, curse words, and loud sighs. Instead of slamming your laptop in anger, start doing your prep-work. Cover letters are not formalities that stand in the way of you obtaining your dream job.
The Nitty Gritty
I like to call the cover letter your interview before the interview. A cover letter allows an employer to get insight about your skill-set, check your attention to detail, learn about your personality, and advises a company that you did your homework and value the same principles it holds dear. Did you know that the majority of companies report that a personalized, targeted, and well researched cover letter is what seperates the candidates that meet the shredder and those who get called in for an interview? However, most employers report that the vast majority of cover letters they see are they are thrown together using little to no consideration, personalization or creativity. Therefore, making them as ineffective in the job hunt as blank sheets of paper.
“This is a major misstep when job searching,” say Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, co-authors of “Cover Letter Magic.” “You should take advantage of every opportunity there is to stand out from other candidates.”
What To Do?
So blah, blah, blah, make the cover letter personal, do your homework. But what are the steps? Because we want you to do well in your search, here are a few tips.
1. Ask yourself these three questions – if you cannot answer them you don’t need to apply for this job.
- 1) Why me (why am I qualified for this job)
- 2)Why this job (what about this job makes it your “dream” job) and
- 3)Why now (why are you right for this job right this minute) you are wasting your time and killing trees.
If you can’t answer these questions in your cover letter, you might as well shred your own submission.
2. Find out what your target employer’s slogan, catch phrase or mission statement is and brainstorm ways to include it in your cover letter’s introduction. This technique will quickly capture the reader’s attention, demonstrate that you are familiar with the employer and stand out from other candidates’ one-size-fits-all cover letters.
3. Don’t just regurgitate your experience from your resume – this is an interview, remember! You wouldn’t just give the employer a laundry list of your qualifications in an interview right? (If you would, that’s a totally different blog post). Tell the employer SPECIFICALLY how your skill set matches the experience requested in the job post.
4. Feature a strong headline near the beginning of the cover letter. To keep it brief, yet powerful, address one of the employer’s key concerns or spotlight your expertise or an attribute that will be particularly appealing to the employer.
Still can’t figure it out? That’s what LeadYou is here for! Let us help you draft a winning coverletter and save a few trees. We promise you will be so glad you did and save you from ripping out your hair and breaking a few laptop keys.