Mr. John and Mrs. Smith applied for the same job. They were equally qualified and each submitted an excellent resume that emphasized accomplishments, training and dedication. John included a general cover letter that outlined his career history. He uses the letter for all job openings. Smith researched the firm- her mission and customized her letter to address the Company’s needs.
Although both candidates were equally qualified, Smith’s extra effort landed her an interview, whereas John was never called.
The following points will help you get a cover letter that will sell you fast.
Research the firm (ask questions, go online).
Determine your unique selling point.
Ask yourself this question: If there are 100 other applicants vying for same position, why should the employer take you, write a list of the top five reasons why you are an excellent candidate.
Construct your letter
- Heading/Inside address
If you are writing a traditional (not email) letter, select a standard business- letter format such as block style and be consistent.
It is best to address your letter to a specific person (e.g. ”Dear Mr. Okeke”), but use “ Dear Hiring Manager” if there is no way to find that out . Avoid stale salutation such as ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and ‘To whom it may concern.’
- Opening paragraph
Your opening paragraph should clearly state the position for which you are applying .Include a reference code if requested and the referral source. Your opening may also include a synopsis of why you are a top candidate for the position.
Your letter body should contain the main selling points. This is your chance to outline the top reasons why you are worthy of a test or interview. When writing the body text, keep in mind that hiring managers are ‘self centered’ - they want to know what you can do for them not your life story. Demonstrate how your credentials, motivation and track record would benefit their operation. Review your top five selling points you jotted earlier during your company research and blend them into the body, maybe as bulleted list. Backup achievement with specific examples.
- Closing Paragraph
Your final paragraph should generate a call for action, so indicate your strong interest in a test /interview. Also, state that you will follow up your resume (when it is possible) and discuss the possibility of meeting face to face.
- Complimentary close and your name
End with a professional close such as ‘Best Regards,’ ‘Yours Sincerely,’ and ‘Respectfully Yours.
- Typing your cover letter
A single error may mar your cover letter. Therefore, proof read your cover letter thoroughly to avoid typo errors. Choose a typing style (blocking or indent) and be consistent with it. If the cover letter is to be hand written, come up with your best handwriting because it may be a criterion for elimination.
- Mailing your package
Post your package using a reliable post or courier service provider. Give some days for delays on transit. If the package is to be hand delivered, ensure it is handed over to the right person or department before leaving.