By Brenda Bernstein
The Essay Expert
I absolutely love the process of crafting great cover letters. You may have heard that some recruiters and hiring managers don’t read cover letters, but I would emphasize “some.” For the ones who do (and you don’t know who they will be), and for smaller employers, an impressive cover letter can make a huge difference.
Your cover letter can show recruiters and hiring managers a little bit about how you would show up in an interview. Here are 3 tips that will get you in the door!
- Impress your reader quickly. In the first paragraph, after you say what job you’re applying to, list briefly the major reasons you are the right candidate for the job. This task can be done in just a few words. Yes, really, it can! For example:
My experience as senior project manager at Blue Shoes, combined with my extensive coursework in business management at Green Vest University, give me the requisite skills for the Project Manager position at Purple Fashion Inc.
Note: The reader doesn’t have to wonder whether you’ve got the training and experience for the position. He or she has a reason to read further.
- Say not what the company can do for you, but what you can do for the company (they couldn’t care less how great a match they are for your interests!)
Do NOT say: “I have always been interested in fashion and the position at Purple Fashion Inc. will give me the experience I seek.”
Aaargh!! Companies are not in the business of giving you the experience you seek. They hire people who will make a contribution, not suck the life out of them!
Instead, say something like: “I have been studying business and working in the fashion industry for the entirety of my academic and professional career, and I look forward to contributing my skills and passion to Purple Fashion Inc.”
- Tell a good, brief story (this tip applies more to smaller organizations who take time to read your cover letter). The person reading your cover letter is a human being, and human beings like stories. If you do a good job with your cover letter, the reader will be enthralled and left wanting more — that’s the effect you want!
Here’s a sample story: “In 2008, I worked with our product design and marketing teams to implement a new product campaign. After 3 months, our marketing plan was on track but it became clear that certain production costs would have to be reduced. Through my leadership, our team reduced those costs by 30% without any labor reduction and the campaign became profitable in the sixth month of operation. I will bring this capability for incisive and effective decision making to Purple Fashion Inc.”
The above tips have generated great success getting interviews, and I know at least part of that success is due to the effective, engaging cover letters.
Don’t forget the resume of course, which must be tailored to the job and packed with your accomplishments!