Past IssuesAugust 12, 2013
Ready, Set, WRITE! A Stellar Cover Letter
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Ready, Set, WRITE! A Stellar Cover Letter
By Jimmy Sweeney, President of CareerJimmy and Author of the Amazing Cover Letter Creator
What is the point of a job search cover letter? What's it really about? Getting an interview that leads to a job, right? And yet so many job seekers write a 'canned goods' style letter that is about as appealing as a tin of peas. And they never ask for what they want. Hard to believe but true.
You, however, don't have to follow that path. You can write a stellar cover letter that will win you a gold star in the minds of hiring managers--a cover letter that catches their eye and makes them sit up and take notice--and then invite you in for a job interview.
But first you have to do your part. Write. Here are three steps to take that will set your letter apart from the others.
1. Focus on what you want--the interview. In order to land it you need to give the hiring manager information essential to making this happen. Let him or her know that you've read and now understand the company's mission statement, the requirements for the job you're seeking, and your matching skills.
2. Show what you've done and what you can do. Include two brief examples from your current employment that illustrate your leadership, management, problem solving or other skill important to the position you want. Don't just say I'm good at leading a team or I know how to solve problems. Describe what you did such as training new sales recruits that ultimately helped expand the sales territory and increase quarterly revenue.
3. ASK for the interview. Hoping and waiting won't do it. You must stand up for yourself--which will go a long way to show the hiring manager some of the characteristics he or she is looking for--boldness, energy, willingness to take a risk, self-confidence, and a genuine interest in the company.
May I come in for an interview so we can talk in person about how I can support the goals of your organization and do my part to increase company revenue? Please call me at 888-888-8888 any weekday or weekend. I'm really eager to meet you.
I'd welcome a chance to visit with you in person to talk about how I will invest my energy and my time into the company in order to promote your mission and increase revenue, as well as build great customer relations. May I come in for an interview? Please call me anytime (888-888-8888) and I will work with your schedule.
Some job searchers write cover letters that are off-purpose. They talk about their training, education, work experience and the awards they've received--because they read somewhere that these are important ingredients. And they are! But they're not the only items that matter.
A cover letter cannot be focused on yourself alone. It must also include information that shows the hiring manager that you've read the company's mission statement, that you've studied the job description, that you're ready to meet the requirements of that job.
In other words, blend the two--your skills and experience and the expectations of the hiring manager for the person he or she interviews and hires. AND be sure to ask for the interview.
The bottom line: Regard your cover letter as your essential marketing tool to bring about the most important result--the job interview! So don't be shy about asking for it. If you don't ask, you won't receive. It's that simple!
Jimmy Sweeney is the president of CareerJimmy and author of the brand new, "Amazing Cover Letter Creator." Jimmy is also the author of several career related books and writes a monthly article titled, "Job Search Secrets."
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