Part of applying for jobs is submitting a curriculum vitae (CV) or resume and a cover letter to potential employers. Because there are other applicants vying for the position, you need a strong cover letter message that ensures you stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, you can write a strong cover letter that leaves a lasting impression by following a few simple steps that relay three separate messages to the potential employer.
According to Yahoo! News, a study conducted by CareerBuilder revealed that 68 percent of the hiring managers interviewed spend less than two minutes reviewing each resume they receive and 17 percent of those interviewed look at a resume for less than thirty seconds. This doesn’t give you much time to make a lasting impression, so it’s imperative that you have a cover letter message that tells the hiring manager about you and encourages further reading. Consider using a third party statement, like a comment from a reference you have on LinkedIn or a short plan that details how you will prioritize and accomplish specific goals during your initial period of employment. When you’re writing your introduction, remember that this portion of your cover letter message should relay the fact that you’re qualified for the job and enthusiastic about the position.
Another important part of your cover letter message should show the hiring manager that you’re serious about the opportunity to work with this specific company. To accomplish this, you’ll need to personalize your letter. Consider discussing the fact that you are being very selective about which jobs you are applying for and why the company interests you. You can also mention one of your accomplishments and relate it to a specific responsibility of the new position.
Remember, your cover letter message should tell the hiring manager things that are not covered in your CV. It’s important to keep your CV message separate from your cover letter message. Instead of reiterating items that are highlighted in your resume or telling the interviewer that you want the job, use your cover letter message to make it clear to the interviewer why you should be taken seriously. To do this, chose a couple of specific qualifications listed in the job description and write about how you have used these skills successfully in the past.
A well written and engaging cover letter is something that hiring managers remember. Let your CV message explain your employment history and skills. Then, use your cover letter message to present your potential employer with a solution to a problem—you.
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