Compose an Awesome Cover Letter

Searching for a new position can be a challenging process. There are so many avenues for finding employment these days it’s easy to get caught up in the process. Finding opportunity and putting out resumes, doing your research on prospective employers, perhaps even signing up with temp agencies to see what’s out there. For all of these avenues there is the first step of preparing a resume. Many put an exhaustive amount of time and effort into developing a perfect representation of their skills and work history, then when asked about their cover letter, respond with the most basic of form letters.

It’s not entirely unusual for individuals to thoroughly compose their resume but then create their cover letter as more of an afterthought, leading to a error-laden, dull and unremarkable document. It is very important to guarantee your job search tools are fully geared up with premium, well-honed marketing messages that are error-free.

The following 4 cover letter mistakes– and attendant solutions– will assist to enhance your cover letter performance.

Utilizing a Generic Salutation

While it is not always possible to find the name of the proper cover letter recipient, typically, with a little digging, it’s possible!

The Fix. One option is to use LinkedIn. Let’s say you find an electrical engineer position at an engineering organization’s site. The position description shows the worker will report to the lead electrical engineer. You choose (at first) to bypass the business’s automated application system so you can tailor your communications.

You cruise over to LinkedIn and begin looking into. Utilize the advanced search function and enter “name of business” for the business name, “lead electrical engineer” for keywords and a zip code for where the company headquarters and this position are situated and ‘Enter’. Your results will reflect what you’re looking for.

You want to be sure to find the contact with the title “lead electrical engineer.” This detail, along with the company’s mailing address, which you can typically select up at a corporate site, will provide you the information you need to create a custom-addressed letter.

This is just one of many methods you can use to research contact names that will assist you in customizing your cover letter versus composing a generic “Dear Hiring Manager” salutation.

Filling The Letter With “I”

While the cover letter reflects your worth, you need to recognize the reader’s challenges and heartily address them with how you can help.

The Fix. While it is difficult not to use the words I or my in the cover letter, you can adjust the tone and build your sentences to much better fit with the reader’s needs. For instance, instead of launching into a dialogue of “I did this” or “I did that,” you might lead into a letter with something like:

“Simplifying complex information in quantifiable, understandable methods to line up investors is my skill.” Notice how the word my is used, however the sentence does not begin with the first person possessive.

Consider linking the dots of your characteristics with the existing market or market need. Clarifying needed processes versus regular processes has honed investigative abilities … (and so on).

Droning On and On.

Including every idea, right down to the kitchen sink, into your letter will lose the reader’s interest.

Run your content through the “so-what” filter as you compose, however, you don’t want to stifle your creativity by trying to construct an ideal letter right off the bat. Review your letter several times. Limit the cover letter to a four- to five-paragraph format, and use bullet points to highlight particular details.

Running Out of Steam.

It is hard to close a story well. And, similar to your resume, a cover letter is a short story that requires a tidy, compelling close. Don’t make the error of running out of steam at the end of your letter and depending on easy, however usually uninteresting endings. This is not only of little interest, but it makes you appear

Research other people’s cover letters to get the imaginative juices flowing. Some expert resume authors offer cover letter examples on their sites. Do not steal other people’s language; rather, utilize the example as a starting point to stimulate your own!

Use these guidelines to best represent yourself when applying for any position. No matter whether you’re up for your dream job or just starting out working with a temp agency, honing these skills will serve you well as you develop your career going forward.