Category Archives: Cover Letter

Job Search Step 7: Emailing Potential Employers

240_f_90471323_kcanlyjnwbz3jm91wt8ylkit6hzthjarIn Job Search Step 5 we discussed treating every face-to-face meeting as though it is an interview if the person you are meeting has the authority to hire or supervise people. When writing to set up the interview — to arrange a face-to-face meeting with a decision maker — presentation is very important.

 

Cover letters are necessary whenever you send out your resume. Even if you are sending your resume to a person within your network or someone expecting to receive it (someone you met at the coffee shop, a cookout, or event at your child’s school).

Your cover letter shouldhighlight your key qualifications and explain why you are contacting the person. For example, are you writing to follow up with a person after having run into them at the grocery store, set up an informational interview, arrange for an informal meeting at a coffee shop, request consideration for a known job opening, etc. Finally, request that the person take some specific action like schedule an appointment, consider you for a particular postiion, or connect you with another decision maker.

Cover letter ingredients:

  1. Address your correspondence to a particular person. Don’t send an email addressed to “To whom it may concern” or that includes some other impersonal greeting. If you treat your correspondence like junk mail, the receiver may also treat it in that way.
  2. Proofread the document for typographical, grammatical, or other errors. Make sure that you have correctly spelled names, titles, and addresses. Call the office, check the company’s Web site, and review on-line resources like Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure you have the correct information.
  3. Personalize your correspondence. You should be targeting your job search to the position or company that interests you. Likewise, tailor your correspondence to the recipient.
  4. Your correspondence shouldn’t be fancy or fussy. It should be clear, concise, and super professional.
  5. Begin with a friendly greeting and let the person know the reason for your communication. If you were referred to the person by another, let him or her know of the referral.
  6. Research the company, business, or industry, the job opportunity, and the person with whom you are communicating. Then target your skills, experience, and relevant background  to that job opportunity or person to support your ability to do the job.
  7. Close your correspondence by stating what you will do next. End the correspondence on a postive note and let the person know what you will do next. How will you follow up with the person or make your next contact? Then do as you say you will do.
  8. Send a thank you note to every person who helps you in your job search.
    • The note can be handwritten or emailed.
    • Send the note within 24 hours after speaking with the person.
    • Include an email signature with the thank-you notes and all other correspondence.
    • Use organizational tools to keep track of your contacts and monitor/schedule your appointments.

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Now, get to it . . .

 

 

 

 

Source: Quick Online Job Search, Michael Farr and The Editors @ JIST, 2011 ed.

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This Blog is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.

The Formula to Writing a Cover Letter

fotolia_89072247On average, 200 applications are received for each open professional position. Cover letters are a great way to set yourself apart from the competition. Cover letters allow you to personalize your message in a way a resume can’t.

The cover letter is an introduction to your resume and application. It should express your personal interest in working for the particular company and provide information about you that is not available on the resume.

For example, the resume provides a detailed description of your professional experience and educational background. The cover letter is a statement of your personal traits and work habits and may include a reference to positive feedback from a previous supervisor. A cover letter shouldn’t summarize your resume.

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Cover letters should be short and to the point. Personalize each letter to the interviewer and the company. Remember, you are trying to grab the reader’s attention so that he/she will look more closely at your resume.

The cover letter formula is simple:

  1. The heading on your cover letter must be identical to the heading on your resume and include all of your contact information. You want to make it easy for the reader to contact you if he/she wants to bring you in for an interview.
  2. Direct the letter to a particular individual by name and title (Dear Mr. Smith, Human Resources Consultant or Dear Ms. Doe, Manager of Talent Acquisition). This will show that you took the initiative to personalize your letter. Never address a cover letter “To Whom It May Concern.” If you cannot find the person’s name, you can address your letter to “Hiring Manager.”
  3. Include a one paragraph introduction (no more than 4 to 6 lines and at least 2 sentences long) that identifies you and states why you are contacting the company. The introduction should include:
    • Your name (you are providing your name in the heading and again in the first paragraph of the cover letter to remind the reader of who you are),
    • The title of the position that you are applying for, and
    • A statement that demonstrates your knowledge of the company (use Google.com and the company website to research the company) and why you are the right person for the position.
    • If relevant, “name drop” (include the names of any inside connections/networking contacts).
  4. Sell yourself in the body of the letter.
    • Only touch on your work experience – leave the details of your professional experience for your resume. Instead, link your skills, experience and education to the needs of the company.
    • Be specific; list past accomplishments as evidence of the unique value you will bring to the company and why you want to work for the company.
      • Focus on 2 or 3 strong selling points.
      • If you have researched the company you may know at least one present challenge facing the company and can address your unique value statement to this challenge.
      • Use more “you/your” and less “I/my”.
  5. In the closing paragraph, thank the reader for his/her consideration and:
    • Ask for an interview or meeting.
    • If you intend to follow-up with a phone call or email, say so. But you must follow through with the call or email.
  6. Under your signature, repeat your telephone number and email address to make it easy for the reader to contact you.

A few final thoughts:

  1. Write to communicate your interest, not dazzle the reader with a list of your professional accomplishments to date.
  2. Get to the point quickly using short and familiar words. Avoid acronyms unless you are sure the reader will understand them (an HR person may not be familiar with specific industry jargon).
  3. Use active voice, not passive language. Using contractions like can’t, won’t, it’s, etc. is fine but avoid using the word “which.”
  4. Remember to proofread your letter before sending it.
  5. Keep a copy of your cover letter to review when preparing for the interview.

Now, get to it . . .

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in Connecticut, with extensive human resources experience. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. I am not an expert in any of the areas of job search. I am writing to share my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.