If your mind is in job seeking mode and you are currently furloughed by bad weather, caught in a shutdown or layoff, taking time off to care for a loved one or simply taking time off between jobs, this is the perfect time to begin crafting a cover letter to send to companies looking for someone, like you – with your unique skills and expertise.
You might be thinking it’s a waste of time. If so, you are cautioned never to underestimate the value of a Cover Letter and the yeoman-like work it can do helping you get hired.
A Cover Letter, one written in an engaging way – which includes:
* A simple story of a work situation you handled
* Statements which confirm your expertise
All of which can go a long way in introducing you to a hiring pro or company decision maker. Laying the ground to help you get the job you want.
In fact –
HR pros, recruiters and decision-makers say a cover letter can work as the introduction a resume doesn’t provide.
One reason is it takes such a short time for HR pros, recruiters and decision makers to view and dismiss your resume. Some admit it takes 5-7 seconds. On the other hand, a cover letter opens the door for a dialogue (a call or email) if the first sentence is compelling enough to connect with them fast. In short, a Cover Letter must engage a hiring pro from the first word on the page – compel them to read on to the very last word.
Your cover letter must show your desire for the job at hand and help you stand out from the crowd as the only individual this pro wants to hire. Not only that, when you have a solid cover letter, which immediately engages the reader, another position may come to mind into which you may fit. Or wheels in the reader’s mind may start turning and have them creating a specific job just for you.
Aside from presenting your skills and expertise, a good Cover Letter conveys how your motivations, interests, and other related skills qualify you for the job at hand.
One of the best strategies you can use, say career experts, is taking time to match your skills to the job available.
HR Pros, recruiters and decision makers admit taking only seconds to review a resume before tossing it. Spending the majority of their time viewing resumes of those few possessing the most qualifications fitting the job they’re hiring for. Those resumes likely have valuable facts, expertise and skills appearing close to the top of the resume.
However, with a Cover Letter –
Since, in effect, it’s a letter addressed specifically to them, they are far more inclined to read it. Therefore it’s extremely important to provide your job-matching skills and expertise as soon after the Cover Letter salutation as possible. And steer clear of adding any unnecessary info.
7 Tips for creating a resume which engages a hiring pro and gets read:
1) Carefully read the ad or job post to determine skills you have which match. Some of your skills may be transferrable. Meaning they can be used instead of those required. In many cases an interviewer or hiring company will accept your soft skills, and even some hard skills, which can be translated to the new job.
2) List skills which match the job available in the first paragraph. The first thing a hiring pro or decision maker does is scan the first paragraph of your Cover Letter to determine if you have the requisite skills, or related skills and expertise, which match the job they’re hiring for.
Here’s an example of how it could read:
As a sales pro, with XXX years of experience and a successful track record, I was excited to see your (name of job) opening. That said, I’m confident my skills, experience and background make me a good fit to play a key role with (name of company). My skills are as follows…….”
3) Be specific; state valuable facts; use sharable stats when possible. Use stats to show such things as ‘productivity, performance, track record’. Recruiters and decision makers love them. Use bullet points for each stat added.
If you have acquired a variety of expertise, which corresponds with the job requirements, you may want to separate them into groups with a heading:
– IT (or Tech) Skills
– Content Writing
4) Use keywords and steer clear of overused buzzwords. Avoid over-used words like passionate and creative. Instead use words like ‘break thru, adopted, amplified, diversified, drafted, elevated’. These are active verbs hiring pros and decision makers appreciate.
*Search for Keywords which best describe your skills and expertise, steering clear of old and boring.
*Here’s a free Keyword search tool – http://bit.ly/1UnxK6l
*Use a synonym finder. Here’s an excellent one – http://bit.ly/1Yx3fOk.
*Use an antonym finder.
*Search LinkedIn for individuals with similar expertise. What Keywords are they successfully using?
5) Make it clear what you can do for a company.
* Show leadership experience and qualities by briefly describing a situation you experienced with leading and/or motivating;
*How you led a team, or staff, for example, during a problematic time;
*Steps you took to handle an obstacle or another serious issue;
* Money or time you saved.
Provide stats, specific scenarios and work-related facts (if sharable); hiring pros also love these.
6) If someone referred you, mention their name; especially if they are employed by the company you’re sending this Cover Letter to. This is very important since the HR or hiring pro can contact that individual and discover more specific info such as how you perform as a manager; how productive you are; how well you work in a team atmosphere. All valuable information to help a hiring pro make the decision to call you and set up an interview. Plus the referring individual may provide you a recommendation. All good when it comes to getting hired.
7) Proofread. Once you’ve proofread your Cover Letter, have someone you trust re-read it for errors. Top of the list of items hiring and HR pros hate is poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar. They consider any of these unprofessional. Some would consider you unreliable if not untrustworthy. Others may question whether you’d do a poor job if hired.
Include a link to your website, blog, portfolio and/or LinkedIn Profile. Be sure to list your contact info after your signature in the Cover Letter. For example – John B. Smith, Email address, Cell or phone number (Note – never use your work phone as a job contact number).
Submitted by Admin