Nothing can be more frightening than seeing your resume getting lost in a pile of hundreds of similar job applications and then ending up in a ‘black hole’. So what can be that one thing that can possibly make your employer pause and take a good look at your resume? The answer is – your personalized cover letter! It is like a sales letter, which sells your resume and therefore sells you. In times of instant information your resume and cover letter go hand in hand. Making ‘maximum impact in minimum time’ is the new name of the game here.
Spend 15 minutes and personalise your pitch to make that perfect first impression:
Not customizing your cover letter can be a major turn off for most employers. It is always great to know your audience and give them what they value and desire. So, learn as much as you can about your potential employer. The more you know, the better are your chances of tailoring your cover letter to their requirements.
Highlight the most relevant parts
Your cover letter should be short and concise. It should not be a laundry list of items from your resume. Ideally it should be 3-4 paragraphs and should have your signature. Employers are hard-pressed for time and often only have time to just skim through the resumes. So include statistics, highlighted statements and bullets that are vital and can be easily spotted.
Show strong synergies
Invest time to connect the dots between your skills and experience and the needs and development areas of the company you are applying for. Read their mission statements and blogs; watch in for clues in twitter feeds. Try and delve deeper to identify them if you have too. If your employer has operations around the globe, then show them your global expertise, verbal skills and 24×7 outlook. Paint a picture of your skills and just give them what they are looking for!
Avoid cover letters with crazy colours, pictures or fonts. Stick to safe and neutral tones. You want to come across as professional. The idea is to make ‘Yourself’ stand out not your paper!
Follow Up to stay on top of the mind
Be proactive and conclude your cover letter by outlining your next steps. Don’t forget to mention when you will be contacting them to follow up. Also include your number and email address where you can be reached in case the company wants to contact you first. Strike the right balance so that you come across as persistent but not a pest.
Each sentence of your cover letter should be interlaced with reasons to hire you. That is because you don’t really know which sentence will grab your reader’s attention during your precious ‘ten seconds’.