Photo by: Ionics
There are two steps in getting a job: sending out a great resume and doing well in an interview. To be invited to an interview you need an effective resume and to get your resume read you need an even greater cover letter.
Always include a cover letter. It’s a great way to tell the employer why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Keep it short (no more than 300 words) and address the cover letter to a person, if you can.
I don’t know why people question whether they should or should not attach a cover letter. Having a great cover letter is an excellent way for you to stand out from the rest.
Here is an example of a very common cover letter:
Please accept this application for the Administration Assistant position with Walmart HQ. I saw your posting on Monster.com and I know I am the perfect candidate.
For the past 2 years I have been working as an AA and going to school. Juggling both responsibilities have been hard but I am ambitious and a hard worker. I currently work in a small team but take on a lot of responsibility. I get a long great with all my co-workers and my last performance review with my boss was very positive.
I feel that I am the perfect candidate for this role because I am customer service focused and very organized. I can only type approximately 50 wpm but I am working on my accuracy and speed. I have attached my resume for your review and hope that you can see that I am qualified for the role.
I would like the opportunity to interview for the Administration Assistant position so please feel free to contact me any time.
Here are the mistakes from that very common cover letter:
Addressing the cover letter to an actual person is ideal. LinkedIN is an amazing networking tool but it’s also a great resource to find a recruiters or a hiring managers name so you can address them directly. If you can’t find a name addressing it to the “Hiring Manager/Recruiter” is fine.
I know I am the perfect candidate
If you’re going to state that you are the perfect candidate then you better make sure that you are. Do you have all the qualifications the posting is asking for and more? No. Then you’re not the perfect candidate.
For the last 2 years I’ve been working and going to school
Nobody cares! I’m sorry but we don’t. I don’t care how hard it is for you to multi task. It’s nice that your boss likes you and you get a long with everyone but tell me why you want to work for this company and list the specific skills that make you the perfect candidate.
If you want to prove that you are the perfect candidate then you MUST be able to answer the following question on your cover letter:
- Why do you want this job?
- Why are you interested in the company?
- What qualifications do you have that would prove to me (at least on paper) that you are the perfect candidate?
I am customer service focused and very organized
Prove it! Anyone can say that they can multi task, are great with customers and are good with numbers but recruiters need proof. In a cover letter and resume you NEED to quantify your accomplishments. How many phone calls do you handle a day? How many people have you trained? These numbers impress recruiters and get your resume and cover letter read.
I can only type 50 wpm
Never EVER point out something that you are not good at. Your cover letter and resume should exude confidence. Always highlight the positive things and never point out the negative.
I have attached my resume for your review and hope that you can see that I am qualified for the role
A cover letter is the door to the resume. A recruiter will decide to read a resume if the cover letter is intriguing. If your cover letter doesn’t state how you’re qualified for the role than your resume won’t even get a chance.
When writing a cover letter use the the job description. Not only does it help you use industry language but you can highlight the exact qualifications that they are looking for. If they are looking for someone who speaks multiple languages then list all the languages that you are fluent in. If they are looking for someone to train and manage staff then state specifically when you have and how many people you trained and managed in the past.
Feel free to contact me anytime
Make sure that you provide the appropriate contact information. If you don’t want to be contacted at work then don’t add your work number.
At the End of the Day
You’re not mediocre and we don’t want to hire mediocre people so why send a mediocre job application. Recruiters and hiring managers can tell if you put some effort in your application. Having a solid cover letter that immediately entices us to want to read your resume is literally one step closer to getting invited to an interview.
So many people are confused when they send out dozens of applications and they don’t get invited for an interview. I bet you one of the reasons is that they didn’t include a cover letter or the cover letter was just rubbish. If the cover letter is rubbish or just ok then the resume will probably be too and that’s fine if you want your job application to be moved to the unsuccessful pile. It’s up to you.