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July 04, 2016

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter That Gets Job Interviews

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Sponsored: How to write a cover letter that gets noticed

Most job seekers spend hours creating their resumes and cover letters, searching through job postings, reviewing classified ads and networking--all in order to land the job interview. Yet 99% of them don't have a clue what to do when they get one.

There's a little known "secret career document" you can quickly and easily customize for your next important job interview that literally forces the interviewer to picture you filling the position. This powerful technique was created by one of California's top marketing professionals. His method guarantees you'll automatically stand out from the crowd and shoot straight to the top of the "must hire" list for any position you seek. To get hired faster, check out this video.

Write Cover Letters That Land Interviews

Jennifer Parris, FlexJobs Career Writer

Writing a cover letter can be a tedious task. After you've been on the job hunt for some time, you may be tempted to cut corners and start cranking out generic cover letters. After all, writing a cover letter specific to each and every job that you're applying for takes a whole lot of time, with no guarantee that you'll even get a call back from a hiring manager. Here are some tips for writing a cover letter that is more effective, authentic, and will help increase your chances of getting a job interview.

Be quick.

Many job seekers will start off writing a cover letter in the exact same way. They'll write something like, "I'm applying for the _________ position that I recently saw posted in the ____________ location." (Snooze.) Or they will be overly cocky with "Stop reading other resumes now I am the perfect candidate!" (Sure you are, along with the other 200 applicants who claim that. Yawn.)

The first sentence of your cover letter should grab your reader, not tell him or her something they already know. Instead, let the hiring manager know why you want this particular job with their particular company. Researching the company's website and showing them you've done your homework before applying will differentiate you from 95% of the other candidates right off the bat. Your enthusiasm for THIS opportunity should shine through from the first sentence.

Be personal.

Sure, it may be frowned upon to name-drop socially, but when it comes to finding a job, knowing someone at the company who can vouch for you really goes a long way. Considering the fact that most bosses tend to hire people they know (or are personally referred to), it's in your best interest to show a connection to your prospective boss within the first paragraph or two of your cover letter. But don't simply mention your shared connection's name; explain your connection to that individual, along with how that person has helped you during your career or what you have learned from him or her ideally. Being personal when writing a cover letter can go a long way towards getting an interview.

Be practical.

Gone are the days of addressing your cover letter "To whom it may concern." To a hiring manager, that can be a clear indicator that a job candidate hasn't done her homework. Through sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter, it is fairly easy to find out who the person doing the hiring is, and as such, you should use their name when you address them in your cover letter. A generically addressed cover letter could easily wind up at the bottom of the pile, or worse, in the garbage.

Be a problem-solver.

You read through the job description a few times and understand the demands of the position inside and out. But what about the rest of the company's needs? Do a little digging and find out how your potential position ties into the overall workings of the company. Then, when writing your cover letter, discuss the challenges that the company faces and offer your insights on how you think you could help the company overcome them -- if you were hired. Not only does this show that you took the time and effort to find out more about the company, but that you're also a solutions-based person who will work as a team member to fix any issues. Both of these are very strong (and desirable) qualities that a potential boss is looking for in job candidates.

Be patient.

From the job posting, the position sounds fabulous. It aligns with your career goals and interests, and your workplace skills and successes make you a cinch for the position. Problem is, you really need a telecommuting job, and the ad doesn't say anything about remote work being an option. As eager as you may be to find out if you can work at home, you should remain mum in your cover letter about your desire to telecommute. Instead, wait until you're offered the position before bringing up the work-at-home option (that is, if the issue hasn't already been brought up by your prospective boss). That way, you can give him the opportunity to really get to know you (and like you!) without having to contend with the issue of you working from home.

While having a strong resume is an important part of your job application, it's really your cover letter that can get you to the next level in your job search. So take the time to make it memorable, and you'll be on your way to job search success in no time.

Jennifer comes from corporate America and a four-hour daily commute! Now, as a Career Writer for FlexJobs, she commutes to the corner office (in her house, that is) in under 60 seconds! Says Jennifer: "I've always been a writer, and love offering readers great service stories and ideas to improve their lives. Writing for FlexJobs allows me to be an example and show people that you can indeed have a healthy work life balance. After all, everyone deserves the opportunity to have a flexible job -- one that works with the demands of your life while still allowing you to pursue your professional passions." On the FlexJobs Blog, Jennifer writes about a variety of topics related to job searching, working from home, work-life balance, and more!

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