Keys to Effectively Presenting Yourself to a Prospective Employer
Do you know how to write a powerful cover letter? If not, here are some keys to incorporate into your cover letter and resume.
One of the most important things you will write as a job applicant is a cover letter. A great cover letter is just as important as a resume. In fact, a great cover letter will make your resume (you remember, it indicates the most important college of essays, theses, etc.) all the more powerful. So, how does one write a great cover letter? This article will provide the keys necessary to put together a powerful and effective cover letter.
The Purpose of Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter has one main purpose, and that is to land an interview. To accomplish this, your cover letter must capture the attention of the person reading it and then persuade him or her to call you for an interview. So, how do you get the attention of the reader? Follow these steps:
- Personalize the letter. Find out the name of the decision-maker in the hiring process and send your letter and resume to that person’s attention. Use his or her name. Spell it correctly.
- Keep the cover letter short. For an entry-level or mid-level position, the letter should not exceed a page. For a higher-level position, don’t go over two pages. If your letter is too long, it conveys that you’re either prideful, meandering and unorganized in your thoughts, don’t respect the person’s time or all of the above.
- Do NOT get cute. It’s too risky. Be professional and succinct.
What to Put in Your Cover Letter
Assuming that you capture the reader’s attention, what then? Follow these steps in putting together the actual content of your letter:
- Tie your experience into what the company is looking for. By the time you apply for the position, you should know about the company and the position. You want to highlight those aspects of your background and experience that match the company’s needs and expectations.
- Give specific examples of past accomplishments. If you’re entry-level, this is tougher, but not impossible, especially if you’ve been active in the community and/or in school. It’s important in a career that you build atrack record. Your cover letter is where you highlight the appropriate aspects of your track record. It’s where you sell yourself!
How to Craft a Winning Cover Letter
Great content isn’t written. It’s rewritten. Remember that. To make your cover letter “great,” you need to go back and rewrite it. Follow these steps as you rework your cover letter into a winner:
- Do you know anything about the decision-maker? If so, tailor the letter as best you can to that person. A basic understanding of personality types may help you with this. Do some research on personality types, and see if you can tailor a cover letter to that person’s type.
- Use a professional vocabulary. Punch up your language. If you have a polished vocabulary, it will set you apart from many applicants right at the outset. This is important, especially if the job requires communication skills.
- Make sure that you can deliver. Put your best foot forward, but don’t over-promise.