Let’s take a look at the big elephant in the room.
Yes, that one. Your cover letter.
Yes, we are really going to talk about cover letter writing. Stay with me ok. 😉
The fact is- they are hard to do for most people.
Nobody likes writing a resume, but strangely, resumes seem easier to write than the dreaded cover letter.
How long is too long?
What should you talk about?
Who should this be addressed to?
How relevant does it have to be and finally, how can you use a cover letter to your advantage?
Not knowing what to say is a struggle- I will admit.
So many people simply screw up their chances of getting an interview with a poorly written, designed and focused cover letter.
But what is it that totally impacts their chance?
The biggest thing I have seen is that people simply don’t think of the space on a cover letter as prime real estate. Yes, real estate.
I know what you are thinking… She has lost her mind. Haha, maybe, but go with me on this.
Where you put the most integral parts of the information about you on the cover letter is crucial.
It really is: Location. Location. Location.
Don’t fail to use the prime real estate of your cover letter to your advantage.
Here are the 3 biggest and most common ways to screw up your cover letter, and how to fix them so you don’t lose out.
Ok- repeating your resume on a cover letter is bad. I’m not gonna lie.
In really simple terms, your resume will speak for itself, on its own. It will highlight all the amazing stuff you have done in your career, who you are as a professional in your industry and what you have accomplished, and furthermore, what you can do for a company.
Your cover letter should not be a copy past of your resume, should not go over the same facts, but it should tie together your experience in conjunction to what the employer is seeking.
How do you fix this if the cover letter you have been sending out to job applications is a rehash of your resume?
Well, first of all relax- what is done is done. You cannot change the past.
You can, however, change your cover letter.
This is going to be really easy. I promise.
Edit your resume to show the recruiters how your background works with what they are seeking in a candidate. Perhaps point out examples of challenges you have overcome to push the company forward, increase sales, or promote brand identity for example.
This will help show you are a perfect candidate that understands company focus and how to turn a situation around.
I see this a lot and it bugs me. I cannot imagine what recruiters feel like looking at hundreds of cover letters each day that do the same thing.
Cover letters should not details why you want this job. They should also not discuss why you hated your last jobs, but I’ll leave that for another story. 😉
And oh my do I have some stories to tell!
What employers want to see in a cover letter is how you are going to help them. Kind of what I mentioned above, how can you help an employer grow their bottom line and thrive in their industry?
Yes, ofcourse it is important you have career goals- but this is not really the place to include them. This cover letter should sell you.
Why are you so amazing?
Why are you the best candidate?
Why should they interview and hire you?
The fact is, companies are in not in business to give you a job. Yes, you become a valuable asset, but, your personal career development is not specifically in the employers interest upon hiring you.
They are also not there to make sure you are happy.
How can you fix your resume to make sure it is all about the company and employer?
Don’t spell out your needs.
Show them what you can deliver for them.
How does your career background and experience match the requirements needed for this job and for the company overall?
Easy right! It is…now go do it.
So many of my clients ask if they can have the same generic cover letter and apply to a lot of different positions.
The answer is yes, you can, but I don’t recommend it.
Just as your resume should be tailored to show off how amazing you are, your cover letter should do the same. Overall, cover letters should not be a overly specific or generic.
Sounds confusing right?
Think of it this way- quality will catch attention. Not generic words.
The way to do this: Make sure you customize every cover letter you send out to fit the job. Even if it is just a sentence or two or three or four. Catch my drift?
You can keep the overall idea there- but change it to fit each job in particular.
And certainly, if you are applying for many jobs within the same company- you need to make sure your cover letter is totally different. Those ATS scanners can detect the same wording- and with algorithms, might red flag you as just randomly applying even if you sincerely are interested.