Write a cover letter that makes you stand out.
Having a great resume is the first step in landing a great job, but equally important is having a great cover letter. Sometimes, the cover letter is all that an employer will read before deciding if your resume is worth looking over or if it should go straight into the trash. That's why it's so important to write a cover letter specifically for each job you want to apply for and make it as impressive as you can.
Here are 5 tips that can help you give your cover letter an edge:
Get the contact information - Before sending in a resume and cover letter, do a little research to find out to whom you should address it. Of course, you won't always be able to get this information, but if you can, be sure to put the name and company address in the heading of your professional business letter. If the information isn't on the job listing, do a Google search to see if you can find the name; try social networking sites like LinkedIn and if that still doesn't give you the information, you can always try calling the company and asking the receptionist.
Find out if the letter should be addressed to Mr/Ms./Mrs - This is important and will give your letter a definite edge. If you aren't sure about the gender of the person, try to locate a profile for them on a social networking sites. If that doesn't work, it isn't bad form to call the company and tell them that you are writing a letter to so-and-so and want to know how to address them. Also, be sure that your greeting is formatted with their professional address and a colon.
Mention the job you want in the first paragraph - Right off the bat, you should reference the job title that you want. This will not only make your intentions clearer, it will show that you wrote the letter for that specific job. Tell them where you saw the ad and when. Then, make sure that you introduce yourself as well.
Say something nice about the company - If this is a company you want to work for, this should be easy. The key here is to say something positive about the company before you start talking about yourself. It's just good manners. For example, you can say "I have always admired your company for [whatever] and would love to work with you." Then you can mention your specific skills and experience as it relates to the thing you like about their company. Try to sum up why they should hire you in the second paragraph.
Set a time frame - In the last paragraph, you should wrap up your letter by stating when you are available for an interview and giving them contact information so that they can reach you. You should also set a time frame and let them know that you will follow up with them by a certain date if you haven't heard from them by that time. Don't worry, this isn't being pushy.
Once you have your great cover letter written, be sure to proofread and then proofread again. You don't want to have spelling errors ruin your chance at the job of your dreams.
Do you send a cover letter with every resume? Why or why not? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for BusinessWorkForceBlog and Nexxt. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.