A great cover letter is worth the time and effort it takes to write it. Employers do read cover letters, and they do accept or reject candidates based on what they see. The cover letter is where the employer will get their very first impression of you as a candidate for the job.
How can you write a cover letter that will get you the interview and get you hired?
Address Your Letter To The Right Person
Never address your letter “to whom it may concern,” or to a job title like “Accounting Manager at ABC Corporation.” Make the effort to find out the actual name (with the right spelling) of the person who’s going to be reading it, even if you have to call the company.
With your very first sentence, grab their attention. Say what job you’re interested in, and why they should be interested in talking with you about it.
If you have a mutual contact who suggested that you send your resume to this person, absolutely mention that person’s name here: “Jane Smith said I should get in touch with you about this opportunity.” Recommendations always matter.
Whet Their Appetite For Your Resume
This second paragraph is where you back up what you’ve just told them with hard evidence. Give specific examples of things you’ve done. One way to choose what to use is to take a look at their job description. List a few out and talk about how you fit: “You want X, I’ve got X.”
When you say what it is that you have, describe it in terms of accomplishments. For instance, if they’re looking for someone who “will drive the growth of XYZ division,” you say, “At ABC Company, I led my team to a 25% increase in revenue.” That’s an accomplishment. You’re not just someone who says they can drive growth, you’re someone who’s actually done it. That’s powerful.
In your last paragraph, be just as direct as in the first two. Sum up why they should see you, and let them know when you intend to follow up with a phone call. You can say something like: “I am very excited about the potential for this company and this position, and know that my skills in x, y, and z will advance your goals for this division. I look forward to discussing it with you, and I will call within a few days to set up a time to meet. Thank you for your consideration.” This is just an example. It’s important to use your own words, so your personality will shine through.
Your cover letter is a very important part of your job search process. It’s important to write the best one you can.
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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