Do the ‘write’ thing

Fol­low these tips to cre­ate an ef­fec­tive cover let­ter

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - CLASSIFIED MARKETPLACE - — Cour­tesy of Metro Cre­ative

While most job seek­ers rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of a well-crafted re­sume, many ne­glect an­other vi­tal com­po­nent of the process: the cover let­ter.

A strong cover let­ter may not guar­an­tee that you land a good job, but a poor cover let­ter may guar­an­tee you won’t. On its own, an ef­fec­tive cover let­ter can catch the eye of a busy hir­ing man­ager who is tasked with finding wor­thy can­di­dates among stacks of ap­pli­ca­tions, while a poorly con­structed cover let­ter could re­sult in the screener never even glanc­ing at the ap­pli­cant’s re­sume hid­den un­der­neath.

An ef­fec­tive cover let­ter should be con­cise, con­vey­ing an ap­pli­cant’s work his­tory and goals in just a few para­graphs. The fol­low­ing are some ad­di­tional ways savvy job seek­ers can craft ef­fec­tive cover let­ters.

Ad­dress the let­ter to a spe­cific per­son

when pos­si­ble.

When re­spond­ing to a job post­ing that lists a spe­cific con­tact, ad­dress your cover let­ter to that per­son rather than be­gin­ning the let­ter with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Con­cern.” Per­son­al­ize each cover let­ter you write so the hir­ing man­ager does not get the feel­ing that you are send­ing out cover let­ters en masse. Make sure the hir­ing man­ager’s name is spelled cor­rectly and that his or her job ti­tle is ac­cu­rate.

State your pur­pose early.

The pur­pose of a cover let­ter — which is to state the job you’re seek­ing — should be im­me­di­ately clear to the reader. Hir­ing man­agers of­ten han­dle the vet­ting process for a host of po­si­tions at their com­pa­nies, so the ear­lier the hir­ing man­ager knows which po­si­tion you’re ap­ply­ing for, the bet­ter. Hir­ing man­agers may be­come frus­trated when ap­pli­cants don’t make their in­ten­tions clear or do so in the fi­nal para­graph of the let­ter in­stead of the first.

Ex­plain why you are a qual­i­fied can­di­date

for the job.

While it’s good to note your work his­tory, keep in mind that your re­sume will do the bulk of that leg­work. The cover let­ter is your op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate how your work his­tory makes you a qual­i­fied can­di­date for a spe­cific po­si­tion. Be con­cise, but re­late a spe­cific ex­am­ple that il­lus­trates how your work his­tory will help you thrive in the po­si­tion for which you’re ap­ply­ing. Ex­hibit some knowl­edge about the com­pany to which you’re ap­ply­ing.

An ef­fec­tive cover let­ter should help you stand out among your fel­low ap­pli­cants, and ex­press­ing some knowl­edge about the or­ga­ni­za­tion can do just that. The goal is to il­lus­trate how you and the or­ga­ni­za­tion are a good fit, so you don’t need to go over­board or be too spe­cific, but hir­ing man­agers are likely to be more im­pressed by ap­pli­cants who do their home­work and show a knowl­edge of the com­pany than ap­pli­cants who sub­mit a form cover let­ter in which the com­pany is scarcely men­tioned.

Be cor­dial in your clos­ing.

A cover let­ter should close with a cor­dial re­quest for an in­ter­view or a friendly in­di­ca­tion that you look for­ward to a com­pany’s re­sponse to your ap­pli­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion, thank the reader for his or her time, and men­tion that you will be de­lighted to an­swer any ques­tions he or she may have.

An ef­fec­tive cover let­ter can go a long way to­ward mak­ing a strong first im­pres­sion on a prospec­tive em­ployer. The cover let­ter is your first op­por­tu­nity to make a pos­i­tive con­nec­tion with the com­pany, and it is well worth your time to craft an ef­fec­tive doc­u­ment that re­flects your can­di­dacy.

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