Earlier this month I gave some tips on how to write a winning CV when you’re cold calling companies to work for. Today I’m going to build on that post and show you how to write a dynamite resume cover letter.
An introduction that will make you stand out from the crowd. One that won’t bore the person reading it to tears. And one that cuts right to the core – getting your point across quickly and effectively.
When applying for jobs, you might believe that you’re the perfect person for the job – and you may very well be. But, you need to keep one very important thing in mind: People are busy. If you waffle all over the show and don’t get straight to the point, how are potential employees supposed to judge what your work performance might be like on different projects? At least that’s what I’d be thinking…
If you were an employer, would you really want to go on a fishing expedition through someone’s cover letter?
Could you be bothered when you have so many other applications to sift through?
Okay, now that you know your resume cover letter has to be short and sweet, let’s get down to business!
Hardly anyone sends cover letters as attachments or posts them these days. They’re actually known as introduction emails. This is even more reason to keep it simple and to the point.
As with the previous post on writing a winning CV, I’m going to illustrate what you need to do by using an example of a cover letter I sent out recently. This cover letter landed me three interviews and one job offer. Sure, there are plenty of resume cover letter examples all over the internet – and believe me, I searched high and low for tips on writing a great introduction email. Unfortunately, they were all so boring and long-winded I didn’t go with any of them. Instead I took one or two sentences from a few examples and then just went with what I thought would grab MY attention.
Remember – especially when you’re cold calling employers when an job hasn’t been advertised – you need to give them a reason to break away from their busy day and read what you’ve got to say.
Let’s break down this cover letter…
- Obviously, the most important thing is the salutation. You must have heard how important it is to address an introduction email to the relevant person and it is. Forget about “To whom it may concern / HR Manager / Sir / Madam”. That’s likely to get your email sent straight to trash because it sounds like some time-wasting sales pitch. Take the time to find out who the HR Manager or CEO is. Phone the company, do a search on their website, just get the right info.
- Once you’ve done that, you need to grab their attention in a short paragraph. State who you are, why you’re interested in the company and what you can offer them. See how I personalised that last line? I went to look at the company’s website – I didn’t generalise it.
- Here, push a little more on what you can offer the company but don’t be pushy. Politely let them know that you’d love the opportunity to meet with them at THEIR convenience.
- Now give a bit of background to your skills, experience and qualifications. Basically what you want to highlight here is why you’d make a good asset to the company. Why they should be interested in talking to you.
- Add in some of your accomplishments…it’s a chance to brag a little (not in a showy off kind of way – just something that could set you apart from others).
- End the letter off in a warm, yet professional manner. Again let them know that you’d be happy to meet them when it suits them. You can also add in a few things about your personality that are sought after traits within a company – or even for clients.
- Don’t forget to leave your contact information; your phone number – and professional website if you have one – at the end of the email.
I think the two most important things to keep in mind when writing a resume cover letter are to keep it short and sweet – to the point, and to remember that writing a cover letter is just as important as writing a CV.
Essentially, this is your stage pass to getting someone to read your resume essentially.
I hope you found this article helpful! If you missed the one about the CV, you can find it here.
Image: pat138241, freedigitalphotos.net