Your cover letter is vitally important in your quest to find the “perfect job.” The cover letter is the stepping stone to your resume, the path that leads your future employer to be interested enough to want to see your resume.
As much time has you will invest while creating your resume, you should double that time period when you are creating your cover letter. The overall construction of the cover letter is important because if constructed properly and with great care, your cover letter can show your future employer that you are
- Well- organized
- Detail- oriented
- Persuasive not pushy
- Well-versed and well-read
Before you begin to write a cover letter, one way to make it effective is to research the company that you wish to work for. Use the Internet as a resource, find out the strengths and weaknesses of the company you are applying for and use this as a tool in building a strong cover letter. You want the employer to express a desire to know more about you. This will guarantee that your future employer will look over your resume, and perhaps call you for further interviews or testing.
You are selling yourself, and during this sale, you do not want to present yourself as a used car salesman, unless that is the position you are seeking. But you want to present fresh ideas, excitement and a polished feel to your cover letter.
Pay attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Don’t depend on a spell checker to catch every mistake, they are knot infallible (see watt I mean)? Give your cover letter to at least three educated friends or acquaintances to read and critique before you turn the cover letter and the resume into the perspective employer. You want to sell your strong points, and if you have researched the company thoroughly, you will be able to describe where these strengths would be beneficial for the company’s growth.
Be versatile, don’t create one cover letter and use it for every position you are after. Craft the cover letter in a way that allows the cover letter to fit whatever needs that one employer is looking for.
Check out the various trade magazines that go along with the job you are after. Use the targeted keywords in your cover letter, this allows you to display to your future employer the traits that he or she is looking for.
One trick told to me by a successful businessman entails making a list of questions as if you (the job applicant) were the employer. A mock test that if you do proper research, stretches your mind to figure out just what this future employer has in mind for you. Once you have that down, you can carefully mold that person into shape by using the cover letter as the introductory tool.
You want to grab the employer’s attention in your first paragraph. If you can’t make a difference there, chances are good you will be overlooked as a possible candidate. If this is a fairly new company, perhaps your benefit would be to appear edgy. Or if it is an established firm, being straightforward and practical will work.
There are books you can buy at the bookstore, or check out from your library that will show you examples of good cover letters versus poor ones. If you decide to make your cover letter generic and lukewarm, you will possibly be looking for work longer than you would like to. You want to be honest in your approach and not use flattery to open the door. A dishonest or insincere cover letter is easily flushed out and discarded along with the resume attached to it.