|Survival Tactics For Those In Job Or Career Transition|
Issue 155 - Jan. 20, 2013
• Your Turn To Ask
Questions In The
Job Interview - "Do
you have any
Targeted Cover letters
Avoid using a form letter for cover letters. Hiring managers and recruiters will see right through them. Thatís because people inevitably make mistakes and forget to make changes to each new version. One of the most common errors is to leave the name of another company or another job title in a letter by accident.
If you canít take the time to write a custom cover letter, the hiring manager or recruiter will not think that you are serious about the job. This doesnít mean that you have to necessarily start from scratch each time you apply for a job. One of the things you can do is create a variety of cover letter templates that you can pull information from. You need more than one if you are going to apply for different types of jobs. If you are thinking about applying for sales and marketing jobs, then you need to create two templatesóone for each that highlights the skills most appropriate for these types of positions. In these templates, point out all of your strengths, achievements and contributions that pertain to the particular type of position you are looking for in paragraph format.
When it comes time to write a cover letter, pick and choose the elements that are applicable for the job you are applying for and add them to a custom cover letter. With each sales point you make about yourself, make sure to tie it back to the job description. Make it crystal clear that you possess all of the qualities listed as prerequisites in the ad.
Always include a cover letter with your resume. As a recruiter, I received hundreds of resumes in my e-mail box in response to an online posting. I was more responsive to those who took the time to write a thoughtful cover letter than to those who sent a blind resume. It showed a level of interest and devotion, vs. a desire to just get a job.
If an ad has "must have" clauses in it, address them. When I received a cover letter that simply ignored the qualifications requested in an ad I posted, I didnít feel compelled to read the resume. A few times I received cover letters that clearly expressed that the candidate had all the qualifications I was looking for...except one. In this scenario, you have two choices. Gloss over it because your other qualifications are so stellar and you have been so adept in pointing them out. Or, be up front and admit that you are missing that one qualification. If you go the latter route, make sure to follow up with a tremendous positive as to why you should be considered anyway.
Itís important to open your letter with an unexpected statement, not a cookie-cutter one. So many cover letters I read started off with a variation of: "I saw your ad in x-newspaper and am submitting my resume for your review." Everyone knows that you saw the ad somewhere and are responding by sending in your resume. This is not news. Get right into the meat of your positioning. If the ad is for a marketing manager with 5+ years of experience, start off by saying, "I am a marketing professional with 5 years of experience working for a top 10Ö."
When it comes to closing your cover letters, make it clear that you will take the initiative to follow-up. Too many of us end our cover letters by saying one of the following:
If you want to get a job, it's your job to do the follow-up. The end of your letter should say something to the effect of:
Some of us may feel uncomfortable ending a letter so forcefully. However, itís important to show that you are ready to take the initiative when it comes to getting the job you want. And, you need to exude an air of confidence. After all, you are trying to convince the recruiter or hiring manager that you are the best person for this job.
Take note that each of the above examples includes a phone number for the hiring manager or recruiter to reach you. Always provide a contact number as a courtesy, just in case they want to contact you first.
What if the ad says "no phone calls?" Then donít call. An ad usually requests "no phone calls" because the recruiter/hiring manager does not want to be inundated with them all day. As it is, they are overwhelmed with hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes to review. If the ad requests that you forego calling, acknowledge that you will abide by their rules. Make sure to reiterate that you are extremely qualified and interested in the position and provide a contact number. Hereís a good example:
"Although I would like to discuss my qualifications with you further, I respect your wish for no phone calls. Please know that I am extremely interested in this job and do feel as though I am a viable candidate. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you in the near future to further discuss my qualifications. Feel free to contact me at any time at 212..."
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