In today’s job market, competition is not just a possibility – it is a probability for nearly any position sought after. This makes it more important than ever before to do whatever possible to stack the odds. Of course, this includes creating an impressive resume, but perhaps even more important, it means having a great cover letter.
In the past, cover letters were often considered unimportant and in some cases were treated as afterthoughts. But that was then and this is now. Things have changed. Individuals that put time and effort into creating well-crafted cover letters can attest to the fact that the time spent on the creation of cover letters is definitely worthwhile.
All that being said, it should also be mentioned that the most effective cover letters are not long, drawn-out, detailed documents. Instead, they are straightforward and to the point. This is just what readers want. Besides conciseness, there are several other things that make a cover letter effective.
Don’t blow your job chances with long-winded cover letters.
Cover letters should convey a sense of the individual’s personality, which should be friendly. If possible, the letter should be addressed to a person, not to the HR Manager, Sir or Madam, etc. Taking the time to research the person’s name can make the difference of the letter making it into the right hands and receiving the respect it deserves and it lying in a stack of mail for a week before being opened.
That fact alone can mean the difference between getting a job and not even getting an interview. Obviously, the effort it takes to learn about the company and the person to whom the cover letter should be addressed is meaningful.
Get names and other information before creating a cover letter.
Make the Letter Easy to Read
It’s a good idea to keep in mind that business professionals are busy people. They want the information they need in a concise and easy-to-read format. This is true with websites, white pages, and even with cover letters.
The information should be presented in a way that is easy to skim, with important points in bolded text. Bullet points can also be used. The idea is to break content up in a way that uses white space effectively. This makes reading the content quick and easy.
Start the letter off with a greeting and an attention-grabbing sentence. The goal is to get the reader’s attention and to keep him or her reading. Keep the focus of the content on how the experience, education, and skill set described will benefit the company.
Once again, research about the company is a tool that comes in handy. Knowing the company’s mission and vision will be helpful in creating effective and meaningful statements.
Words that demonstrate a passion and enthusiasm for the work and/or position should be used. The point is, the employer should not feel that a job applicant is “settling” as he or she applies for a position. They want to hire employees that are excited to work for the company.
Let the reader feel enthusiasm coming through the cover letter.
Ending the Letter
The cover letter should be ended with a request for an interview. In addition, it is polite to include a word of appreciation for the opportunity to apply and for the upcoming interview.
It should be noted that in today’s world, besides checking out the resumes and cover letters of job-seekers, some employers may also check out the internet reputation of potential employees. For most people, this is not an issue of concern, but others may find doing some reputation management work will be helpful before spending a lot of time on job-seeking efforts.
Like any other process in life, job-seeking can be simplified. Taking certain steps eliminates some of the uncertainties. When it comes to a job-seeker’s arsenal, an effective cover letter is one of the best tools to have on hand.
Debbie Allen is a freelance writer and online marketer who writes about a wide range of topics.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com
Category: Personal Branding