You’ve written your resume. You’re ecstatic that you wrote it yourself, it’s fabulous and – let’s face it – that job is totally yours.
…If only the employer would read it!
You’re familiar with the expression “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” Well, a resume is not your first impression on a potential employer. The cover letter you send it with is.
Don’t stress out. You can write a great cover letter, and you can do it quickly. All you need to know is:
1. Why you should write it.
Your resume tells an employer who you are and what you did.
Your cover letter should focus on who you want to be and what you can do for the employer based on your past experience and achievements.
Think of your cover letter as the puzzle piece that gives an employer a complete picture of you.
2. What it should contain.
Never repeat what you have already stated in your resume. A cover letter should:
- State the specific job you are applying for. Use the same title the employer listed.
- Provide a well-written overview of your achievements and how they can benefit the employer.
- Bring attention to the personal attributes that will benefit the job, like your passion for working with people or how clients praise you for your attention to detail.
- Call the employer to action. Don’t be afraid to tell them what you are expecting from them: e.g., contact you for an interview.
3. Write it.
Don’t think too much. Just write it. Don’t bother about style or order of words. Be as natural as you can, and write as if you were telling a friend why you think you are the best person for the job.
Just mean every word you say.
4. Review it.
This is the most important step. Now that you’ve got your message written down, go back and look at the method.
Focus on the technical aspects that will get your letter read and make the employer eager to see your resume and contact you.
Remember, you want to present the information with the employer in mind.
So the format should be: Introduction® Achievements ® Potential ® Call to action.
Put your message in the correct order and read your letter again to make sure it flows. Have a friend or trusted colleague read it as well to give you input.
Don’t forget. It’s important for your cover letter to:
- Be concise
- Avoid passive language
- Avoid lengthy sentences
- Be free of ALL spelling mistakes
Your cover letter should pique an employer’s interest and convey that you are the right person for the job. The words must leap from your letter and make an employer eager to interview you.
What you say you know doesn’t really matter. What you show you know does. You might claim to have the best written communication skills, but your cover letter will tell if you are lying.
When you have a great cover letter, you’ve chosen the surest way of making the employer see you as you want to be seen…the right person for the job.