Picture this: Someone hands you a resume without saying anything, and a few seconds later, someone else hands you a resume, saying, “This person seems like just what we’re looking for and he is really interested in the job!” Which resume do you think you will favor? Naturally, you will favor the one with the great introduction. This is part of what a great cover letter does for you in your job search.
The entire goal of a cover letter is to get the employer to read your resume. Knowing that, it only makes sense to set your goal just a little higher to make them not only read your resume, but be excited to read it. A good cover letter will set a positive bias for you, boosting both your resume and your chances of getting the interview.
How do you write a great cover letter?
Target Your Letter
It’s important that your cover letter be written for this hiring manager, at this company, for this job. Much more than just addressing it to the right person (although that’s a must); a good cover letter is written as if you were speaking to them. Inject some of your personality into your letter, but always maintain your professionalism.
Sell Yourself For The Job
The job search is a sales process (whether your job is actually in sales or not) and your cover letter is the first step in the sale. The psychological process of choosing someone to hire is remarkably similar to that of choosing a product to buy. When you choose a product, you want one that does something for you—it solves a problem, it promises a better outcome, or it delivers a result you need. Your cover letter should be focused on what benefits you could bring to them and their company. Pick a couple of significant, job-relevant points from your resume to highlight, and include them in your letter.
Quantify Your Accomplishments
Of all the things I could tell you to write in your cover letter, one of the most important is ‘quantify your accomplishments.’ To quantify means to describe in terms of numbers, dollars, or percentages. Whatever your accomplishment was, describing it with numbers, dollars, or percentages will grab their attention and make you stand out.
A well-written cover letter is second only to a respected friend handing them your resume with a personal recommendation. Take the time to write a great cover letter. It will be time well-spent, because it will pay off in an interested employer who calls you for an interview.
Find out more about writing a job-winning cover letter (step-by-step instructions with examples) in my Free Report – How to Write Attention-Getting Cover Letters.
About the author
Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.
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