Tips for using your cover letter as a job seeker's weapon

Cover Letter Tips: How To Make a Winning Impression With the Job Seeker’s Secret Weapon

What’s the big wart on your resume that keeps you up at night? What’s the pimple on your resume’s nose that keeps managers from hiring you? Is it a gap in your employment history? Lack of experience or education? Too many jobs in a short period of time?

Don’t despair. Your resume doesn’t have to stand alone in defense of your ability to do a job well. You can keep yourself in the running and increase the chances of landing an interview with the job seeker’s secret weapon: an effective cover letter.

But your cover letter will only help you get the interview if you do it right. Avoid the most common cover letter mistakes. Instead, allow your personality and value to win over any hiring manager who reads it.


Don’t Rehash your Resume

One of the quickest ways to annoy hiring managers is to use your cover letter to present what’s already in your resume. First, it’s boring. A bored hiring manager quickly moves on to the next candidate. Second, it wastes the chance you have to sell yourself.

Think of your resume as the statistical output of your career. It reads like a list of facts and figures. It doesn’t have a personality or conversation with an employer. It provides the facts, and nothing but the facts.

Your resume is an important and necessary piece of the presentation, but your cover letter is different. It’s the invitation to get to know you. It’s the conversation that makes the data of your resume make sense.

Done right, the cover letter provides context to the details of your resume. It provides a bite-sized, conversational introduction to who you are and what you bring to the table. Don’t waste it by rehashing the info you’ve already presented elsewhere.

Personalize Each Cover Letter

One of the quickest ways to turn off a hiring manager is to send the same cover letter to everyone. An employer can tell that you haven’t taken the time to address him directly if every one you send out is identical.

Don’t give the impression that you’re too lazy to send an individual message. Don’t give someone an excuse to dismiss you as a person who won’t pay attention to detail or take pride in his work.

Instead, take the time to research each job and company. Add a personal touch to each cover letter. Weave in specific details about the company that are relevant to the job you’re seeking. Tie the company or department’s goals into your background, and your cover letter will draw connections your resume by itself may not draw.

Be Specific

In your cover letter, state your case. Why do you want this job, and not just any job that you can get? If your resume leaves questions about whether you’re qualified for the position, explain why you think you’d do a great job anyway.

What’s the company’s agenda for hiring someone? What do they want this person to accomplish? How does your background show that you can help that company fulfill that agenda? What’s the proof that backs up what you claim about yourself? These are the questions your cover letter must answer to get yours to the top of the pile.

Skip the Small Talk

Finally, keep it simple and get right to the point. Managers are in a hurry, and none of them have time for a long, chit-chatty introduction. Get right into the heart of what you have to say. Be brief, concise and specific. Managers will respect you for respecting their time. You’ll also show that you get how to communicate effectively in a time-crunched environment.

There’s no need to open the cover letter with, “Hi. My name is Mary Jones, and I’m applying for the Sales Manager position.” The person reading can see who you are and already knows the position you’re applying for.

Instead, think about why you’re excited about the job, and why you’d fit perfectly in the role. Open with that.

Most people waste their cover letters. They rehash their resumes, fail to make the case that they’re the perfect fit, and lose a valuable opportunity to make the impression that lands them the interview.

In short, they don’t make their cover letters count.

Make yours count. Avoid the mistakes most job seekers make, and present a cover letter that puts your best foot forward. Stand out with a fresh, simple, clear case for why you’re the perfect fit. Write your cover letter with these tips in mind, and your resume will land on the top of the pile – warts and all.

Make an investment in your future with a resume / CV and cover letter written by Vivian Adkins, CPRW of Foremost Resumes. Foremost Resumes offers affordable resume writing services – resume prices are published here. If you have any questions about my resume services, call or text 1-321-442-7994.

Resume writing services include:

-Executive Resume Package
-Professional Resume Package
-Entry Level Resume Package for Graduates
-Military Resume Package
(LinkedIn Profile Improvement Add-On Service available for all resume writing packages)

If you found this post helpful, I’d be grateful if you would help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+.

Thank you!

—Vivian Adkins, Resume Writer at Foremost Resumes

About Author

Vivian Adkins, CPRW
Vivian Adkins, CPRW is the owner of Foremost Résumés and a Certified Résumé Writer. On this blog you can learn about résumés, how LinkedIn can help with your job search, how to conduct an online job search, and more.
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