Strategic Career Advice for anyone seeking satisfying and rewarding work.
These blog articles are longer than many and that's because I've found clients I work with are unusually hungry for the step-by-step answers and approaches that will help them reach their career goals or help them deal with issues in their workplaces more effectively. So this is the place to find FULLY fleshed out answers and strategies to achieve win-win results.
Sunday, 12 March 2017
3 Simple Steps to a Stand-Out Cover Letter
I know I
probably shouldn’t write another post
extolling the virtues of Cover Letters but I can’t help myself. I still see people fumbling this great
opportunity to gain a job application advantage!
A Cover Letter
– well-crafted and thoughtfully written with a little dash of pizzazz – can give you a
huge jump on the competition.
So long as
you DON’T use it to merely rehash the resume!
And… DO use
it as a means of jumping the queue of competitors by catapulting you into
virtual interview mode … before you even GET the interview!
15 years defining and refining what works in Cover Letters for 1000’s of
resume/career transition clients, here’s my secret sauce for catching – and
holding – the employer’s eye!
1)Make a “Pitch” for you in this job!
the 3-5 TOP benefits (and this is key: as they relate to the posting) of hiring you! Answer the Why You for this Job question now, instead of waiting for the
interview. You know it’s always one of
the main questions, so impress them NOW!
2)Make it “Sing” to the posting!
Posting IS your bible. You must dissect
it, analyze chapter and verse, then compare it back to your own experience,
knowledge and talents! Find stuff that really jumps off the page and write it
strong! Avoid “resume speak” … the blah blah blah, uninspired jargon most
postings are made of. Figure out a compelling
way to say something memorable (and job-relevant) about you so the reader can’t
wait to meet you.
why you want the job. Imbue a sense of
your genuine friendliness and personality into your words so the reader feels
they’re meeting you. The resume is written in a different style
and this is your chance to transmit a sense of you and what makes you tick
before they meet you. So make it count!
So those are the 3 main things to do
when writing a stand-out cover letter.
And here are a few more final
touches to consider while polishing and fine-tuning your shiny new cover
Shift your Perspective!
When composing, put yourself in the Hiring
Manager’s shoes! Are you addressing the biggest “asks” of the job
posting? The better you can
articulate the benefits of “buying” you, the more likely you’ll make it to
the next stage.
Does what you’ve written make YOU want to
pick up the phone and call you? If
not, you need to take another run at it.
Presentation, presentation, presentation!
That extra sumthin sumthin that makes it easy on
the eye. White space, yes, but not too
much. Prose sections, yes, but not just
prose. You can quickly lose a gem in an undifferentiated blanket of prose. Bullets and italics are your friends. So make it “stand out” in format, as well as in
Use bullets to make your “Pitch” pop!
Incorporate a few quotes from personnel
evaluations or letters of recommendation.
Add a few pertinent accomplishment
Categorize your skills – break ‘em down
into components of the whole to prove you have equivalent experience, even
if you don’t have a formal piece of paper!
Anticipate potential “bombs” that could
lead to assumptions that, without an explanation, might be leapt to
what everyone (and I do mean everyone, because I hear this from clients every day),
there is no absolute rule about cover letters being “no more than 1 page”. When it comes to resumes, I often write 3-4
pages. And Executive, C-Level and
government resumes are often 3-4 pages! The same goes for cover letters – don’t feel confined to 1 page if you
have more to say that can’t really fit properly in a resume. Especially when you’re making a career change
or adjustment. I’m convinced I’ve gotten certain interviews, myself, because
the cover letter -- at 2 pages -- explained something about me that a resume simply
Looks Count, Too
always, always: edit and proofread multiple times. Read it out loud. You’ll often hear an error before you see
one, especially after you’ve been poring over the same document for days on
There, that’s it! Not too difficult, huh? So now … all you have to do is sit back and
wait for the phone to ring!
If you’d like to see a couple of sample cover
letters, please email me and I’ll
send them along.
About Judy: CAREER CHANGE
ARTIST & RESUME RE-INVENTIONEER
My talent lies in
deconstructing your experience (from work and life) then reinventing the Lego pieces
into a newer, more satisfying design, through the delivery of high quality,
personalized service that consistently hits its mark. If you’d like to talk
about your future career moves, call me for a FREE 30 minute consult!