Killer cover letters - how to get noticed
As you sit down to write your cover letter, do you ever stop and think, “Who the heck is going to read this?” You may believe that just because employers get hundreds of resumes per job posting that they tend to skip the cover letter part. That is simply not true.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
You’ve written this awesome cover letter and it’s taken you quite a long time to create your masterpiece. You’re tired and spent from all your hard work. When it comes time to get your information together for the next job, you change the “To” section of the cover letter and the job title that you’re applying for. Boom – done!
But hold on a second…
What you just did is a major faux-pas. How is Employer #2 going to feel when it’s obvious you didn’t write your cover letter just for him? What if there was something in there that didn’t relate to that particular job at all?
Before you throw up your hands in frustration, let me clarify: you do not need to completely re-write your entire cover letter for each and every one of the positions for which you apply. You just need to put forth a little extra effort to show the employers that they are not just one of many companies for which you are applying.
Oops! Forgot to Change the Company’s Name?
You’re applying to jobs online and you hit “Send” a split second before you realize you forgot to update the company’s name on your cover letter. It seems like it’s happened to everyone but it is a huge blunder that most likely takes you out of the running for that particular position. Not very encouraging, huh? The good part about it is that you’ll be extra careful applying for jobs from then on.
Is there a way to recover from this error? You could always follow up with a hardcopy of your resume package. By then, the hiring manager probably would have already forgotten about your little mistake. You can also wait a few days and apply on line again. With so many resumes, employers probably aren’t going to remember your original submission.
Not Highlighting Your most Important Achievements?
Many job seekers believe that if they have their achievements on their resume, why should they repeat themselves in their cover letter? Simple – you need to do everything you can to make that employer want to read your resume. If your cover letter doesn’t provide them with enough ‘proof’ that you’re a great candidate for the position, then there is a chance they won’t even make it to your resume.
Now I’m not saying that it’s best to repeat yourself verbatim. Be a little creative and reword those top three or four achievements or important requirements that you know the employer wants to see. These may be different with each job posting so customize appropriately.
There are many ways to make your cover letter grab an employer’s attention. Treat it as being as important as your resume in getting interviews. After all, it’s your cover letter’s job to make the hiring manager want to read your resume. A great resume needs a cover letter to pave the way for the job that you really want.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end. Grab your free cover letter tips e-mail course at www.CoverLettersMadeEasy.com
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.