2014-08-26 by admin
Whether you like the idea or not, at some point you are going to need to create a cover letter, it is nearly inevitable. While our parents (and most likely their parents) went to work for one company immediately out of school and stayed there until they retired, today, this scenario is an exception and not a rule.
You have a great resume, you know what your skills are and you feel confident in your ability to sell yourself if you can just get your foot in the door for that all important interview. The predicament is that cover letters are just not your forte. No need to worry, because like everything else, there’s a checklist for that. Here are the primary components of a cover letter checklist.
What have you done lately – It is a pretty safe bet that you do not need to inform a potential new employer about your school thesis. If they want that (and it’s highly unlikely) they will ask for it. Use your cover letter as an opportunity to highlight something you have done recently that makes you stand out from the herd that will be applying for the same job you are applying for.
What is in it for me – This one is always tricky. Potential employers do not particularly care what they can do for you. They are far more interested in what you can do for them. Avoid statements like “I want to work for XYZ Corporation because I believe it will allow me to use my time management skills”. Instead try “Having excellent time management skills would allow me to help XYZ Corporation successfully implement ABC Project by the deadline”. This of course is a challenge because you have to know something about the job and what the company is doing.
Make sure you ask for the interview – Do not just plug away at your cover letter and fine tune it and leave out one of the most important parts. You need an action statement in there that will encourage the person reading it to take immediate action. Not only should you ask to be contacted “at your earliest convenience” but make sure there are consequences for the failure to call. For example “I look forward to meeting with you for an interview. Please feel free to call me at (your phone number) at your earliest convenience. I will follow up with you on (date not too far in the future) to discuss this opportunity with you further.
Proofread it once and then again– Whatever you do, make sure that you have read your cover letter forward and backward. Then do the same thing all over again. Run your word processor spell check then find an online grammar checker and run your cover letter through it. Do not allow one single mistake that can cause you to not get an interview slip through.
Professionalism is required– Avoid some of the foolish mistakes that can cause you to not only not get called for an interview but also placed on the “never call again” list. Take an honest look at your email address. iamasexyguy@.com isn’t likely to get you an interview. Neither will onehotchick@.com get you an interview. There is no harm in free email accounts but make sure that your email is a professional one. In a perfect world, you should use your name as your primary email (for example, johnsmith@.com) but this is difficult if you have a common name. Remember, common sense is part of professionalism.
Polish your shoes, bring your resume up to date, dig out your best suit and prepare the best possible cover letter using this common sense checklist for your cover letter. Remember, an ounce or more of common sense will likely get you more than an interview.
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