It's time to dump the old line: “Please accept this application in response to..." If you're still starting your cover letter with this overused one-liner, then I implore you to stop what you're doing, delete the line, and spend a few minutes reading this article to discover seven new examples of how you can catch the hiring manager's attention with an attention-grabbing opening line.
Recruiters have one job: find the right person for the position. Their performance is evaluated on how efficiently and effectively they match top talent to job requirements. Ironically, in the current economy, recruiters are finding their jobs harder than ever.
There's too much talent for them to weed through. What used to be "finding a needle in a haystack" has now become "finding a needle in ten haystacks." As a result, recruiters have to determine a candidate's marketability much quicker.
Translation: Candidates must pay even more attention to the power of the "first impression" factor.
First Impressions Really Do Matter (A LOT)
People skills, attire, etc. all become more important when competition amongst talent is this fierce.
Reality check: Those who are failing to make a good first impression get put in the "no" pile and are never contacted again.
So, if you aren't getting called back by a recruiter after either an in-person meeting or phone call, there's a good chance that, in addition to the fact you didn't have the right skills, you also might have displayed one or more traits on the "I can't market them" list.
Now, most recruiters won't tell you what you did wrong. Why? For one reason, they aren't paid to give you the bad news. Second, they don't want to burn a bridge. And third, as I mentioned, they just don't have the time.
And yet, how are you going to fix the problem if you don't know it exists? I've put together the most common reasons why a recruiter writes a candidate off. You may not like what you read, but the good news is with a little attention and practice all of them can be improved upon.
So, ask yourself, "Am I guilty of the following?"
Top 10 Things Recruiters Won't Tell You
1. Your interview attire is outdated / messy / too tight / too revealing / too flashy.
2. Your physical appearance is disheveled / outdated / sloppy / smelly / overpowering (i.e. too much perfume or cologne).
3. Your eye contact is weak / shifty / intense.
4. Your handshake is limp / too forceful / clammy.
5. You say ah / um / like too much.
6. You talk too much / use poor grammar / say inappropriate things (i.e. swearing) when you answer interview questions.
7. You appear overconfident / pushy / self-centered /insecure /aloof / ditzy / scatter-brained / desperate.
8. You talk too fast / too slow / too loud / too soft.
9. You giggle / fidget / act awkward / have facial tics / lack expression.
10. You lack sincerity / self-confidence / clarity / conviction.
So, How Do You Fix These?Bigstock
Well, given that 93% of communication is non-verbal, I can tell you that many of the negatives above can be improved by focusing on one thing: attitude.
If you are angry, fearful, or confused, it's going to show. You must find a way to feel good about yourself and your ability to contribute. This comes from knowing your strengths and embracing them.
It also comes from doing your homework on a company so you can articulate clearly and with enthusiasm why you would be a great fit for the job. I realize this is easier said than done, but it can be done.
I hope I've convinced you to take a hard look at the 10 reasons above and commit to finding a way to improve your first impression factor.
And Knowing Your Professional Strengths Will Help!Bigstock
If you want to reveal your unique professional strengths, take our FREE Career Decoder Quiz! It's time to unlock your TRUE potential and start selling yourself to employers!
Once you know your professional strengths, it will be much easier for you to convey why you would be a great fit for a position. And as long as you don't make the above mistakes, you'll be golden.
It's your career. Own your actions and take control of your professional development. I promise, recruiters will take notice.
Need more help with your job search?
We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Power Hour Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.