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Once you have created your resume, the next step is to have an outstanding cover letter that will convince interviewers to look at your resume and consider your credentials. You can have the world’s greatest resume, but if you don’t have an eye-catching cover letter to go with it, don’t bother sending it. The cover letter explains why you are the right candidate for a given position.
Wait…isn’t the resume supposed to do that? Well, in a way yes, but the resume is more of an overview of who you are, where a cover letter answers the question, “Why you?” Imagine you are a product. Your resume describes what your product is. The cover letter is the salesperson that says why someone should consider purchasing.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Don’t believe it! The flashier and more exciting a book’s cover is, the more it sells. Cover letters provide the same function for your resume that a book cover does for the contents of the book. The more interesting your cover letter, the better your chances of getting your resume read.
The cover letter is the “tickler” advertising that gets the reader to want to look at your resume. There are Five C’s you should remember when creating your compelling cover letters.
Five C’s of Compelling Cover Letters
Much like the resume itself, the cover letter should be short and to the point. Like a powerful advertisement, the copy should be dazzling and grab the attention of the reader.
Don’t be shy with your cover letters. Strut your stuff! After all, if you aren’t confident in your abilities, how do you expect the interviewer to be? Your cover letter should be written in a very positive tone that conveys that you know you are the best candidate and you are confident that you should be considered.
Like an assumptive close in selling, when you assume you will get the interview odds are you will. Just be careful to balance your enthusiasm. There is a very fine line between confident and cocky. Hiring managers like confidence.
The main difference between the cover letter and the resume is that you add more custom tailoring to the cover letter. In the cover letter you should include references to the company you are interviewing with and how you will be a great asset to them. Stress how your experiences make you the best candidate for their job.
Each interviewer is going to want a different type of candidate. When you are writing your cover letters, try to, once again, put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer. Ask yourself, If you were the interviewer, what would you want in your ideal candidate ? Then ask yourself what you can say about your career that is relevant to the opportunity at hand. That is what you should include in your cover letter.
For a cover letter to be successful, it must be creative. Think about your key selling points and how they can benefit the company(s) you are targeting. If you are a comptroller and you successfully reduced expenses by 35 percent at your current job, then that may be of real interest to a company that is having trouble containing its costs.
Look at what makes you uniquely qualified. What qualities or achievements can you mention that will differentiate you from your competition and make someone want to interview you?
As you know, hiring managers get flooded with resumes and cover letters. The ones that will stand out are those that have something unique about them. Often, it’s your creativity that differentiates you from your competition.
A successful cover letter will always be crystal clear about what the objective for the letter is. In essence, your cover letter has to go for the close. What do I mean by that? In sales, going for the close means asking for the order. The objective of the cover letter is to get you an interview. Hence, be absolutely clear in your cover letter that you are the best person for the job and that you want (and expect) an interview.
Your cover letters should be concise and personalized, create interest in you, and ask for the interview. Your cover letters must also convey an understanding of the company and the opportunity, and how you will succeed in the targeted position. The key is to provide enough golden nuggets about your personality and experience that will make someone want to grant you an interview.