“Cover Letters . . . . Ugh!!” by Janis Murray
The cover letter plays a pivotal role in the employment process and is one of the most difficult missives to write.
Unlike the resume, which I will delve into in the future, the cover letter must bridge the gap between your resume and the job description. It must connect you undeniably to the company as a potential employee. Yet the biggest mistake I see job hunters make is not reading the job description in detail. Where what you have to offer connects is your best content. Thus, no one letter fits all.
First, study the web site of your target company that has an opening. Incorporate the key words they use in the job description. It is entirely possible the company will sift your resume and cover letter through software programs looking for those words. Resumes & cover letters containing them will likely go to the top of the pile before any human reads them. Then realize companies want a serious glimpse of your personality because in the Millennial world, culture counts. You have to fit ours.
One first draft letter starts:
“I was pleased to see an opening for the account management position with —-. In my previous role with Company X, I developed a passion for all things inbound and digital marketing.”
I, the company, really don’t care that you are “pleased”. What do you offer me? So after a joint discovery discussion, the following became the better opening paragraph:
“Sometimes one encounters the potentially perfect employment match through a moment of sheer serendipity. I think this may have happened to me regarding the —- team. I happened to be in your building the day before yesterday when I noticed a bright green sign in your window, similar to a triangle, with the simple word, “Inbound” within it. As a digital sales and marketing strategist, I immediately knew what that meant and enthusiastically returned home to study your web site in detail. I discovered everything you do has been exactly my passion for the last 6-½ years working at ——– here in Austin. So I was quite encouraged to find your opening for an Account Manager. Serendipity + Green + Inbound = GO! I am excited to apply for this position.”
Big difference! Submitted on a Friday afternoon, this 29-year-old got a call for an in-person interview within an hour for the following Tuesday.
Copyright 2016 by Janis Murray
All rights reserved.