Cover Letters That Get You More Interviews

Cover letters are an over looked tool in the job search arena. Most job seekers do not write cover letters when applying for a position, and others do generic cover letters that do not make an impact.  I have contact with a variety of employers on a daily basis that offer their feedback on the topic.  Many say good cover letters (in the body of the email) are what gets someone to open the attached resume file.  In other cases cover letters are being read after looking at resumes.  When 20 candidates match the requirements, the cover letter helps decide which few to bring in for the first round of interviews. Make sure you make the cut.

Tips to writing cover letters that get interviews:

  • Prep-work is important. When applying for a job, the first thing to do is to sit down and highlight all the key words within the description. Then skillfully incorporate as many of those core requirements as you can into the cover letter with examples from your background.   The next step is to research the company and the industry jargon. Weave pieces of your acquired knowledge strategically within the cover letter.
  • Use LinkedIn’s many features or BranchOut on Facebook.  Find out what connections you have available to you for an inside peak at the company’s hiring needs or for a reference. Mentioning names in the body of the cover letter of other employees that work for there, helps to get interviews.
  • Never simply copy pieces of a job description into your cover letter or repeat what is on your resume. Make it unique to that employer by covering the ‘key words’.  Use the employer’s name a few times throughout the letter and address all of the employer’s needs.
  • Know your audience. **If applying for a position that requires writing samples (like that of an editor, publisher, reporter…), then be prepared for the cover letter to be scrutinized as a writing sample.  **A cover letter for different industries will never look the same. **Cover letters for managerial jobs will require more quantifiable data and referrals. **If you know who is reading your resume, tailor it to his or her style.
  • Cover letters for most jobs get screened by recruiters that want to believe they are making the right choice in selecting you. You gave them examples, and said plainly: —I have, I can, and I will. Do not be afraid to use “I”.  If it’s done with intent and backed with examples, it can give you credibility.
  • Mention you have a portfolio of your work you can share. Include websites or links in your cover letter that add value to your brand.  Share statistics, concrete data, and pack powerful information into your three paragraphs.
  • Always thank the recruiter for their time.  It’s a tough job finding talent. If the employer requested ‘’no phone calls or emails’’, then respect that. If not, then state in your cover letter that you will be following up. Contact the human resource department as stated to see if interviews began. Sometimes a call at the right time can get your resume reviewed.

A targeted cover letter can get you more interviews.  All it takes is three paragraphs to make an impact.  Recruiters want to read and determine you are a fit based on tasks you have done elsewhere, industry/company knowledge, and get a glimpse into your personality. Cover letters might be the most tedious part of any job search, but its definitely worth the time to help you stand out in the sea of resumes.

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