Is your cover letter ready to be sent out? Before you say yes, read this... A little while back, we had an open position we were trying to fill. I was amazed—or should I say appalled—at the blanket responses we received from job seekers. Potential candidates sent us cover letters describing experience they possessed that was completely irrelevant to our opening; it was the same as someone having a degree in veterinary medicine but seeking employment as an IT director. Did these job seekers really think going on and on for paragraphs about irrelevant experience was going to make me want to read their resume—or even more so—interview them? I think I understand the dilemma here: Truly active job seekers are sending out countless cover letters as quickly as humanly possible—probably exasperated by the sheer volume of applications they feel pressured to submit. It’s not a shot-in-the-dark game, people. Or a game of numbers. I truly don’t believe it’s a situation where you have to submit 200 applications to receive two call-backs. What it comes down to is a matter of focus and relevancy. Can you make the correlation between your experience and career background and what the employer truly needs? I’ll give you a perfect example. We occasionally will have openings for certified or professional resume writers. We place an ad for the opening online with some very specific requirements and ask that the candidate respond with valid and convincing reasons why he or she would be the best fit. Some candidates go on and on—almost endlessly—about having authored books, written articles for medical journals, or their technical writing experience. None of which has anything in common with resume writing—other than the word “writing.” This is frustrating to hiring managers as they are wading through hundreds of job applications. It almost seems like a waste of time. I find myself thinking, “Why can’t they tell me what I need to know?” I specify in the ad that I need to know about criteria A, B, and C—and whether you possess those skills. Ninety-nine percent of job seekers fail to address their experience in these areas. Why? I am not sure if it’s laziness or a result of being overwhelmed—but what I can tell you is you’re only hurting yourself and your chances for an interview. I know when you’re submitting as many applications as you can you may feel hurried, rushed, or like you don’t have the time to make a customized submittal. Truth be told, you’re wasting more time if you don’t. Take the time to specifically address each requirement in your cover letter, and provide the hiring manager with the absolute most relevant experience you have that matches the requirements of the position. You may be surprised at the results.
A common interview question employers ask during job interviews is, "Why are you interested in this position?" They want to know why you want to work at their company, and the specific motivation behind why you applied for the job (not that you need a paycheck).
Knowing how to answer interview questions well is always important, especially with this question.
To persuade the employer that you have a true connection to the company and a passion for the job you applied for, your answer to this interview question should start with, "I'm interested in this job, at this company, because…" and then list at least three reasons why you want to work there.
Here is how you should structure your answer to the interview question, "Why are you interested in this job?"
Reason #1 – Professional Fit
Your first reason should always show fit in terms of professional skills.
Example: "I'm interested in this job because I can see that, in this role, my skills could help solve this problem within your company. I also see an opportunity for me to learn and grow these skills, so we both would benefit personally, professionally, and financially. If I can come in here and solve problems and accomplish your goals, I know I can develop my career the way that I want to."
This part of your answer lets them know that you are excited about what you will be able to accomplish for them, while still emphasizing what they are getting out of the bargain. You need to sell yourself as a business-of-one who can provide a service better than the competition.
Reason #2 – Cultural Fit
Your second reason when answering, "Why are you interested in this job?" also shows fit, but in a different way.
Example: "Also, I like the culture of this organization. From what I've heard and what I've been reading about the company, it seems like a great fit for my personality and my values. I really connect with your mission statement, and feel passionate about the work that you do."
This is a general answer, so if you can be more specific by actually naming a couple of things you've heard or read about the company's workplace culture that you like, it will help your cause. This is one area where your pre-interview research is critical.
Here are a few things you may want to look for when you research the company:
- Is this a top company in the field/industry?
- Is this company known for cutting-edge products or other innovations?
- Does this company have a great reputation for customer service?
- Is this company known for being a great place to work?
- Does this company value and/or provide resources for employee development?
Mention those things that truly speak to you and your values so your sincerity shows.
Reason #3 – Personal Fit
Wrap up your answer to this interview question with something that personalizes it a bit more.
- "And this job is in a great location for me. I've always wanted to move here."
- "And this job is only five minutes from my house, so eliminating the commute is a big plus."
- "And I've always used your products, and I just love them. I am really excited about being a part of that."
Say something that gives you another reason of your own for wanting this job. This interview answer is a fantastic place to let your enthusiasm for the job show. It's very appealing to employers, and it gives them one more reason to hire you.
Download Work It Daily's FREE list of common interview questions here.
You'll have a very clear and thorough answer to the question, "Why are you interested in this job?" if you follow the formula above. Set yourself apart from the competition today!
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.