Creating an effective cover letter

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Before creating your next cover letter here are a few effective tips to keep in mind.  It is important to remember that hiring managers and recruiters typically have to go through piles of applications and cover letters and usually don’t spend more than minute to skim and scan.  Knowing this, the goal of your cover letter is to quickly get their attention to want them to read more, peak their interest and ultimately to look at your resume.

Here are a few effective tips to keep in mind before writing your next cover letter:

Keep it short – as mentioned, most hiring professionals have a stack of applications to review.  By keeping it short, you will force yourself to include only the most relevant and eye catching information.  A good guideline is to keep it to one or two paragraphs outlining relevant knowledge, skills and abilities.

Use bullets – using bullet points is very important since it highlights the important information.  It also allows the reader to scan easily which is what they will be doing.

Make it unique – by mentioning another employee currently working for the company.  For example, “my former colleague Tom Smith in Finance speaks highly of your department……..blah, blah, blah”. Using referrals will make your cover letter unique, and better your chance of being positively remembered and stand out. Be careful whose name you drop, and make sure the contact you mention is well liked and positively regarded.

Highlight a strategic strength – Highlight a key strength that you bring to the employer and that is required of the job.  Think of something that would give you the edge over the competition, something that makes you unique.  A good idea here is to highlight your unique blend of skills and experiences.  So suppose you were applying for an accounting job at ABC Telcom.  Rather than indicating that you have an accounting degree (like most other applicants), mentioning your combination of accounting and telecom experience puts you in a unique position to contribute to the job.

Make it current – a great technique is to incorporate a current event from the company.  Do your research and learn about the current news and media and work that into your cover letter.  For example, “The launch of your site is exciting.  I look forward to meeting with you and discussing how my experience with youth will contribute to your team.” With the internet and almost every company having a website, you really have no excuse not to use this tip.

As a rule of thumb, remember to include a cover letter with every resume you send out to an employer unless you personally know the hiring manager or decision maker. Also, make sure the cover letter is written specific to the company as opposed to sending out a generic cover letter.

Information provided by HR Difference.

Our HR team specializes in providing small and medium sized companies with cost-efficient and customized human resources consulting solutions and learning management systems to meet your need and budget. We also provide custom resume writing and telephone job interview coaching for job seekers.

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