Tip #1: Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Obviously the best way to put your best foot forward is to physically put your foot (and the rest of you) in front of the person you’re trying to impress. Unfortunately, that’s getting a few steps ahead of yourself. You may not be able to immediately put your fantastic self in front of your fantastic new job yet, but you have a few tools at your disposal to sing your praises for you.
Warm Up to Your Potential Employer
Your cover letter is the warm up show (see “Cover Letters are a Must When Applying for Jobs”). It’s your opener, introduction and a chance to showcase a little more personality than you can within the more structured confines of a resume. It’s also your chance to show interest in your prospective employer while getting them interested in you.
Properly introduce yourself in the letter:
When you first meet someone, you don’t say, “Hello Sir or Madame. What exactly does your company do? Well I guess I’m generic enough for you to ignore.”
You say, “Hello Mrs. Smith, what a pleasure it is to meet you. I’ve heard so much about your company. I was especially impressed by the inroads you were able to make in the European market last year. During my third year of university I had the opportunity to do a term in Germany. I believe my experiences there…”
Show your interest in the company:
Discuss how you can be an asset. Don’t be afraid to ask for an interview at the end of your cover letter. It shows you’re serious.
Be Personal With Your Potential Employer:
If possible, make the cover letter personal.
Do your research:
Figure out the name of the person you’re sending it to, what the company does, their goals, awards and achievements. The fact that you cared enough to find out what you could about them will make them more inclined to want to find out more about you.
Write a different cover letter for each job:
Again, your goal is to pique interest in you while setting yourself apart from the rest. Remember, it’s not always the most qualified person who gets the interview – people can be trained and taught, especially in entry-level positions. It’s about making an impression and warming up the hiring manager so they want to see more.
Be Professional on Paper
Even though you and the hiring manager have never met, putting your best foot forward on with your cover letter is the first step to make a good impression.
Revise and edit:
Double, triple and quadruple check your resume and cover letter. If you’ve done that, get someone else to check it again. Typos somehow have the ability to become invisible to the person who made them. But they won’t be invisible to the person deciding whether or not to call someone in for an interview!