COVER LETTERS Pat Cross In Today’s Market, You Need a “Perfect Cover Letter” to Stand Out. • Most cover letters are reviewed and rejected in as little as 5 seconds! • Without a PERFECT Cover Letter your resume will never get the attention it deserves. • Writing a cover letter that gets noticed means you'll land more interviews! All cover letters should: Explain why you are sending a resume. Tell specifically how you learned about the position or the organization Convince the reader to look at your resume Call attention to elements of your background Reflect your attitude Indicate what you will do to follow-up. 10 Tips for Readable Cover Letters 1. Make yourself stand out. Focus on your unique and exceptional qualities. Be strategic, persuasive, and concise. 2. Target the right person. Call the company and find out the name and title of the person who does the hiring for the job. Ask for the correct spelling of his or her name. Tips for Readable Cover Letters 3. Stay simple. Keep your cover letter brief. Never send a letter that is more than a page in length. 4. Make it shine. The look of your cover letter can be just as important as what's written on it. Break your text into digestible morsels with lots of white space. Tips for Readable Cover Letters 5. Be an attention getter Keep in mind that you have only about one to two seconds to get your initial point across before the reader moves on to the next letter. 6. Sell yourself. Don't expect to wow a prospective employer with a lengthy checklist of past titles and accomplishments. Instead, focus on how you can benefit their company. Tips for Readable Cover Letters 7. Have someone else proofread. Never underestimate the negative effect of bad writing. Misspelled words and incorrect grammar will IMMEDIATELY eliminate you from most positions. 8. Avoid exaggeration. Avoid saying anything that can damage your credibility. And remember never to speak poorly of former employers or coworkers. Tips for Readable Cover Letters 9. Close encounters. Don't depend on the employer to take action. Request an interview and tell the employer when you will follow up to arrange it. 10. Don't forget the follow-up. You'll greatly increase your chances of getting an interview if you call the employer directly after writing, rather than just sitting back and waiting for a call. So WHAT? • For each sentence you write, ask yourself, "So what? What does this information mean to my reader? • Getting in the habit of asking yourself "So what?" boosts the power of your job letters by 100 percent. Exercises • I saved the company a fortune when I instituted a new system for scheduling. Or • I saved the company more than one million dollars in production when I instituted a new system for production scheduling. Exercises • I believe my background provides me with unique qualifications . OR • My background provides me with unique qualifications Exercises • I received many awards for highest sales in the store. OR • I earned many awards for highest sales in the store. Exercises • Although I have not had the opportunity to gain a wide variety of experience in finance, I have gained general experience in my field through internships and stock-trading simulations. OR • I have gained general experience in my field through internships and stock-trading simulations. Exercises • I would like to emphasize that I am looking for experience in the "real world" of marketing this summer. As a result, I would greatly appreciate any position that you could offer. OR • I would like to emphasize that because I am looking for experience in the "real world" of marketing this summer I would greatly like to make a contribution in an internship position in your marketing research department Exercises • Although I have not worked with Lotus spreadsheets, I am a fast and willing learner. Or • As for your requirement for spreadsheet experience, I've worked with Excel, a program even more advanced than Lotus. Thus, I have no doubt I can quickly get up to speed on Lotus. Exercises • I was an accounting assistant in my most recent internship. Or • I served as an accounting assistant in my most recent internship. Exercises What makes me different from other applicants? • I am a skilled problem-solver with proven leadership qualities. OR I have good problem solving skills from working with the public a lot. Exercises What makes me different from other applicants? • I have a special talent for establishing excellent rapport with clients, fellow employees, and students. OR • I work well with others. Exercises What makes me different from other applicants? • I enjoy working with deadlines. OR • I work well under pressure with strong attention paid to detail while meeting strict deadlines. Exercises • I did consumer surveys with a marketing research firm. OR • I conducted consumer surveys with a marketing research firm. Cover Letter Anatomy • Contact information Address, telephone number, e-mail address, ALWAYS put your email address on a separate line from your other information. • Date line and inside address • Salutation Dear ------- Cover Letter Anatomy • Introduction The most important rule is to engage the reader's interest. • Body Provides essential information that the employer should know about you. Cover Letter Anatomy • Conclusion stimulate action on your behalf. • Closing, signature, and enclosure line It's the handshake before parting.
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