Never Written A Cover Letter Before?

Never Written A Cover Letter Before?

When you first start looking for a job, one of the top things on your To Do list should be to write a cover letter. Some job seekers might think the cover letter is a formality that you add to your resume. They couldn’t be more wrong. Cover letters are the personal introduction to your resume’s more formal application. Hiring managers will go through the cover letter first before even looking at your resume. Here is our guide to the cover letter for beginners.

First Things First

Before we get going, there are a couple quick tips to keep in mind. Slate.com says: “Keep it short. I started putting word limits on cover letters because I couldn’t stand, nor did I have the time to read, the especially long letters I’d receive.”

Another thing to keep in mind is writing in a personable tone. The cover letter is a chance for you to bring out a little bit of your personality. Keep things professional, but don’t be afraid to let some of you shine through.

Addressing the Letter

Beginners often start their cover letters with “To Whom It May Concern’. Always try your hardest to find the name of the person in charge of hiring. If a job is posted on LinkedIn you will be able to see the name of the person who posted the job. If a job posting doesn’t give you a name, call the company, mention that you’re applying for the job and ask if there is someone you can address your cover letter to.

Starting your cover letter off with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager” isn’t going to get your cover letter thrown out, but having the right person’s name there gets you off on the right foot.

First Paragraph

Introduce yourself, note the position you’re applying for and give a reason or two why you want this specific job. Note something specific about the company, the way they do business or someone you know working there. Demonstrate that you’ve researched the company and the position you want.

Second Paragraph

This is the meat and potatoes of your cover letter. In this paragraph you want to talk about you, what you’ve done and what you can bring to the company. Focus on what the job posting mentioned as key responsibilities and qualifications needed for the position. Mention successes you were a part of in your last job. You want the person reading your cover letter to come away thinking, “this person is perfect for the job”.

Final Paragraph

This is where you wrap it all up. Reiterate the fact that the skills you have are a perfect match for the awesome company you’re applying to.

Finally make sure you let the hiring manager know what the next step is. A lot of job postings say that they will contact you. In this case, make sure you include something along the lines of “I look forward to hearing from you.”

If it is not expressly stated that you will receive a call, we suggest something like “I will follow up with you in a week’s time.” This lets the hiring manager know exactly what to expect.

The Cover Letter for Beginners

You’ve now got a great cover letter to go along with your resume. Writing from scratch can be tough though. Experience.com offers a great example of a cover letter.

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Exactly How Much Experience Do You Need For That Job?

Exactly How Much Experience Do You Need For That Job?

It happens so often that people miss a job opportunity because they actually don’t have the qualifications or experience listed on the job posting so they don’t apply. Well NEWS FLASH! All the requirements and experience listed on the ad just make up a “wish list” for employers. They may not expect a candidate to have all those qualifications but still list them to weed out anyone who is not 100% qualified for the position.

 

An easy rule to remember is that if you have more than 50% of the qualifications and experience listed in the posting, you should apply. Most employers are willing to train new candidates and make exceptions if the qualifications and experience are very easy to learn.

 

That said, don’t apply to a job if there is a very specific and mandatory education or skill requirement that you don’t have.

 

The bottom line is, apply even if you think you don’t have experience, but feel like you can confidently take on the role.

Transferable skills are an asset

After all that school and the work experience you do have under your belt, there have got to be some skills you already have which can be transferred over to the job you’re after.


See if the skills you’ve picked up during your previous work experiences can be applied to the job. For example, if you were a leader of six people and the job ad requires a supervisor to oversee 10 people, you still have the potential to become a supervisor because: a) You were already in a role that required some kind of leadership of others b) You know a thing or two about managing others, even if it’s less than the amount in the job ad.

 

Breaking into different industries


Breaking into a different industry can also work because employers might want new insight in the company. If you are an accountant and want to work in a payroll company, they might take a second look at you because the skills of an accountant are similar to payroll positions.

 

Use your cover letter to sell yourself


Your cover letter can make or break your chances at getting the job. So even if you don’t have the exact experience they’re looking for, use your cover letter to highlight the experiences you do have that would make you an asset to their company.

 

Make a convincing case for yourself


This goes back to thinking about all the transferable skills you have. If you write your cover letter well, you will have the hiring manager sold on the fact that even if you don’t have experience, you do have the skills. In the letter, talk about how your skills can be applied to the role and how you can benefit the company as a whole.

 

Show your knowledge for the position/industry


Do your research on the position or industry you are applying for so you know the key points to hit when writing the cover letter. That knowledge may make the difference between an interview and being passed over for one.

 

Maybe You’ll Get Lucky

 

You never know what is going on in the minds of hiring managers and their intentions for the company. Maybe they want someone who isn’t familiar with the industry to bring in new perspectives. Or they like your resume and cover letter so much that they are willing to offer you an interview. The possibilities are endless. Applying for a job even if you don’t have exact experience doesn’t hurt but you’ll certainly have a better chance at the job than if you don’t apply at all!

Set Yourself Apart From The Job Hunting Pack

Set Yourself Apart From The Job Hunting Pack

 

A generation ago landing that first job was pretty easy compared to the situation now. Job seekers simply didn’t have to contend with the fierce competition for every position the way they do now.

 

With so many people vying for your job, you may find it’s the little things that set you apart from the pack.

 

Do your homework

If you want to shine during an interview, then thoroughly acquaint yourself with the company before you even begin tailoring your resume for them or writing your scintillating cover letter. That means checking out their About Us page, their Facebook page, Twitter. Get a feeling for the sort of company they are and incorporate that into your words, in person and on paper (or virtual paper).

 

Go over your resume with a magnifying glass

We don’t literally mean you should go over your resume with a magnifying glass, but we do mean you should check and check again and then get someone else to check for you to confirm there aren’t any typos or spelling mistakes on your resume and cover letter. Before you send it out print your resume and give the hard copy on final going over.

 

Follow up

After sending in your resume you might think your part of the initial application process is over, but there’s still one more thing you need to do. Follow up within a week. Follow up can be as simple as a quick note to the HR person or hiring manager, confirming how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity. You can also reiterate exactly how it is that you’re going to benefit the company.

 

Thank them for the interview

Within twenty four hours of your interview, follow it up with a thank you note. In the note, thank the interviewer for meeting with you, and once again, quickly touch on why you are going to be such an asset to the company. If you can manage to squeeze in something you discussed during the interview, brownie points for you!

 

Always have your elevator pitch ready

You never know when you’re going to run into someone who could possibly benefit you professionally. The last thing is want is to find yourself tongue tied when what you should be doing is wowing them with all the reasons you’re such a great candidate. Your pitch should be short somewhere between thirty seconds and a minute and it should include who you are, your great attributes and what you’re looking for.

Work on it unit you’ve come up with something snappy and attention getting. Practice your elevator pitch when you don’t need it, so when you do need it, it chirps out of your mouth like an early morning songbird.

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

How to Write a Great Cover Letter

For most people writing a cover letter is one of the most difficult parts of the job search. You have to sell yourself, but be modest. You have to be professional, but you also want your personality to come out. Learning to write a great cover letter can be hard. We’re here to make it a little easier.