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.

Advertisements

Make a Great First Impression With a Strong Cover Letter

Make a Great First Impression With a Strong Cover Letter

The job you’ve been waiting for has come up! Your resume is polished, personalized for the position and ready to go. You have researched the company and you feel great about your chances. You know how important first impressions are, so you want to make a great one. Your first impression with any potential employer is your cover letter.

 

The interviewer should be able to assess exactly why you are such a great candidate based on the cover letter. To ensure that, you need to make sure you cover these three things.

 

Explain yourself

Catch them right off the bat with a hook of some sort. Tell them something fabulous about yourself to grab their attention. Tell them about recent successes and how you plan on benefiting this company. Be the opposite of Dear Sir or Madame I would like to present myself as a possible candidate for the upcoming position…

 

The music behind the words of your resume

Your resume is a cut and dry explanation of your experiences and accomplishments. The cover letter is where you get to embellish. It’s where you get to explain exactly how you improved things at your previous company with concrete statistics. And how your experiences teaching English on the other side of the world are exactly what this PR company needs.  Gung-ho as you may feel about your potential don’t give in to the temptation to go on at length. Respect their time and attention span and stick to the highlights. You want to capture their attention so they are intrigued enough to meet you. You can dazzle them with the rest of what you want to say in person. Which brings us to our next point.

 

Ask for the interview

Great as your intro was and spot-on your accomplishments, statistics show that people who actually ask for the interview in the cover letter are twice as likely to actually be invited in for that interview. “I welcome the chance to meet with you in person to discuss how I can benefit…”

 

Enthusiasm and confidence are the impressions you want to leave them with.

Common Job Search Mistakes

Common Job Search Mistakes

If you’re on the job search, life is tough enough as it is. Unemployment is never a walk in the park especially when you also have to consider your budget and expenses. Don’t make your job search any harder than it already is. Avoid these job search mistakes.

Have a Plan

Don’t go head long into your job search with a bunch of resumes and start throwing them at store fronts and receptionists. You need a plan. What kind of job do you want? Where do you want to work? Do you know anyone who has contacts there? Is your resume up to date? You need to address all of these things before you even start your job search.

Professional Email

You’re resume might be impressive, but the quickest way to torpedo an offer for an interview or job is if the hiring manager has to send the invitation to snugglesNhugs42@hotmail.com. Make sure your resume is professional. Something as simple as your first name and last name with a period in between will work.

Tailor Your Resume

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to send the exact same cover letter and resume to each and every job you apply for. You don’t have to have totally different resumes and cover letters, but you should tweak both for each different job. Call out specific skills mentioned in the job ad and focus on the skills you have that are part of the job you’re applying for.

Don’t Focus Only on Posted Jobs

If you only look for jobs on job boards, you’re missing a huge opportunity. As much as 80% of jobs are never posted on online job boards. Take time to talk your friends, former colleagues and even family members to see if they have any leads for you. A personal connection can be key to landing a new job.

Always Include a Cover Letter

More important than tailoring your cover letter for each job, is just including one. Even when the job listing doesn’t specifically ask for a cover letter, include one anyway. The cover letter is a personal introduction and will help the hiring manager get a better sense of who you are.

Research the Company

Chances are, if you get an interview, your interviewer will ask you what you know about their company or why you’d like to work for them. If your answer is a blank stare, you may have just missed out on a great job. Find out what they’ve done, where are they headed, and think about how you could be a part of that.

 

These small mistakes are all easily preventable. Make sure you’re not making one of them.