WHY a Cover Letter?
In down to earth terms, look at it like a highway billboard. Your cover letter has 3 to 5 seconds to catch the interviewer’s attention. Will it?
o Your cover letter has a single objective, to get your resume perused.
o Your cover letter and resume have a single objective, to get you an interview.
o Your cover letter, resume and interview have a single objective, to see if the employer deserves you. 😉
Master the art of creating beautiful focused, unique, well prepared cover letters and the employers will be drooling to interview you.
FOCUSED Cover letter
Focus and break down your cover letter to simple components. Each word, sentence, each paragraph tells and sells a unique you. For example, a 5 paragraph cover letter compels you to create five specific areas of targeted information, each reflecting your ability to meet the needs of the employer. Make the reader ache with curiosity to read more.
Focus on detail, on the employer’s needs.
On a personal note: I have read cover letters so compelling that I looked forward to the interview. Was this person real?
HOW HOT is Your Cover Letter?
Typically professional cover letter writers recommend the last paragraph is a call to action. Agreed. Or would you rather have the reader jump from the middle paragraph, scan your resume, while groping for the telephone to call you? When the focus of a cover letter matches the needs of an employer, can you just feel the palms start to itch? To scratch, you have to be seen.
Are You PREPARED to Create a “Put Pen to Paper” Cover Letter?
Are you ready to drive your cover letter home? Sitting with paper in hand or at your computer, have you laid out all your data before starting? Before driving a nail, you better be crystal clear as to the purpose of the nail, type, size, and placement. It’s the same writing the first line of your cover letter. Before you start, be sure you have laid out all of your critical information including a copy of your résumé, your employer’s ad, all your contact information and all supporting material.
Organize! “Winging it” is only for the dodo bird.
Focusing and maintaining your train of thought requires freedom from distraction. This is no time to forage around for information. Have your completed pre-organize job seeking material on an Excel spreadsheet, a basic database or on a professionally prepared organizer, all at hand.
NEED to Save Time, Effort or Just Plain Lazy? 😉
KISS. Consider using professional job seeking planners or guides that can save time. It’s quicker and can simplify collecting critical personal data for your résumés and cover letters. Why easier? They ask the questions, you fill in the boxes. There are a ton of these guides or planners available. If you procure one, please be sure that it serves your purpose. I have seen some crumby ones. 😦
TIP: Having purchased and reviewed several related products I found them useful in collecting generic basic information. This can help save enormous amount of time. They are like a starter on your car, vroom! To fly, just add nitrous and wings. 🙂
If you have unique experiences, talents, education, or anything else outside the norm be aware that these products can’t second-guess your special needs. Their best use is in helping you collect the everyday data that any employer may seek but it is your responsibility to add in those pieces of information that make you stand out from your competition.
SPEAKING of Unique
Say the word unique and most people will look for something singularly different about you; height, weight, the wart on your nose, unique. In the job world, to be singularly different, with different experiences, different education, different work background is going to be rare unless your personal references include the Pope or the Dali Lama. Yet…
Your uniqueness is your greatest sell point. Your uniqueness is that magic picture you paint in your cover letter to the employer. Eureka!
Target creating a “Eureka” in your cover letter’s first sentence!
o Uniqueness, we all have it but…
o Can you find it and sell you to an employer?
o Uniqueness attracts attention.
o Uniqueness creates curiosity.
As an employer, do you want ordinary, unremarkable, bland? It’s not personal, it’s business. The shredder is overflowing with the ordinary. In searching for that unique you, never, ever consider a detail too small…
“For the want of a nail the battle was lost…” (Benjamin Franklin)
It takes 27 good impressions to overcome one bad first impression! This has something to do with how neurological memory impressions are stored. Your cover letter should be a beacon so bright that the aliens can use it as a landing beam. 🙂
THERE IS NO “I am sorry”.
Do you have a cover letter checklist? Santa checks his list once or twice. Ignore some minor detail such as mixing the wrong fonts or not having enough white space, an interviewer, more interested in form than content, may turn your cover letter into confetti. Your road to effective cover letter writing demands focus, uniqueness and preparedness.
A great cover letter is like a beautiful woman; both are striking and pique curiosity. Does your cover letter cut the mustard? Well, what are you waiting for? And Good Luck!
Charles Ethos is an experienced motivational educator, consultant and author. His audiences have come from all walks of life. For more in-depth, make-you-think articles to help fine tune your job interview techniques.
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