There are plenty of blog posts and tips on creating cover letters, but have you found one that actually worked? From our experience, job seekers could spend more time on this. Trust us, we’ve been at this recruiting business for decades and review numerous cover letters daily. It’s way more than fluff that will get you noticed. What’s our secret? Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and think about what we call, WIIFM, “What’s In It For Me?”
A cover letter is as much part of a first impression as a resume. Did you know that often a hiring manager will read a cover letter prior to a resume? And if they don’t like what they read in a cover letter, they probably won’t read a single word on your resume. The same can be said for an email sent with an attached resume. As a standard rule, we recommend that whatever pertinent information your put in your cover letter, must be in your resume since there are also times when cover letters are thrown away, without being read.
The purpose of the cover letter is to entice the reader to read your resume. Remember the “What’s in it for me?” theme we mentioned earlier? Use the cover letter to address the most important parts of your experience that is required in the job. Using key words is essential here. This lets the hiring manager know straightaway that you’re serious about this opportunity and precisely what they need.
Before you start, please make sure you have the correct spelling and contact information of the person you’re addressing your cover letter to. If you don’t have a name, then at least have the correct address information and correct spelling and punctuation. On a side note, I can’t tell you how many times we read simple cover letters and even emails that are poorly written with improper English and improper punctuation. Making mistakes like that can lead to a bad first impression.
Take a look at this sample cover letter guide you’d use when you know they have an open position.
Cover Letter Example
Enclosed you will find my resume outlining my experience, skills and hard work ethic. I was recently informed that your company has an opening for (list the position), which is exactly the type of opportunity I would be interested in pursuing.
(This is the “What’s in it for me part.” Tie this paragraph into the skills they require. Use key words based on your industry and what the hiring manager needs and wants. Also, list your accomplishments and the positive impact on your past employers. You want to inform this person of what you bring to the table.)
(This is the final part of the letter where you confirm your abilities and that you’re very interested in working with the company. Offer that you’re available for questions if needed and inform them of your plan to contact them for a follow-up interview.)
Thank you for your consideration.
There are many versions of cover letters that job seekers can use, but ultimately your letter must provide the essential information the hiring manager wants. Take the time and care with every cover letter you write, and you’ll see an increase in follow-ups from applications. Remember, the cover letters should be typed, proofread and be an example of your communication skills. You want your cover letter to enhance your chances of an interview, so spend time writing effective ones.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Ingrid Moore
Ingrid Moore is the President and Owner of Corporate Resources of Illinois, an employment & staffing agency with over 20+years’ experience located in Schaumburg, IL. Ingrid and her team assist employers with finding the right hire for their business. For more info, follow us on our LinkedIn Company Page, or follow us Corporate Resources of Illinois‘s Google+ page.