The Coverletter-The Quick and Dirty

There is a great debate among Human Resource professionals about whether to include a cover letter or not. When evaluating a cover letter from a Marketing prospective I say, “Why the heck not?” Not everyone reads your cover letter. Heck, not everyone reads your resume, but for those hiring managers that do read cover letters, you are taking a big risk by not including a cover letter.

A coverletter is a great opportunity to discuss any gaps in resume or your planned relocation to Florida in November. I recommend not using a canned coverletter and make changes to your cover letter each time you apply for a position. Look at the job description of the position you are applying for. Yes, these things take time, but isn’t it worth putting your best foot forward? Find 3 qualifications that you possess from the job descript and focus on those on your cover letter. Your letter should look something like this:

Dear Ms. Smith, (Do your best to find their actual name or use Director of Human Resources. Everyone needs a little ego boost, ayy?)

I am interested in being considered for the position of _________. I have _____ years of experience in the areas of ________, ________, and _________ with an interest in _________. Explain your recent relocation here or other informaiton not covered in your resume.

List your first qualification-the position you were in, the company, and for example, how you grew sales by 15% in 2005 by focusing on specialized sales training for your team, restructuring incentive programs, and building a strategic marketing plan for each geographic location. Try to use work examples that are not included in the resume. No need to repeat and waste the Hiring Manager’s valuable time.

List your second qualification following the same setup for qualification number 1.

List qualification number 3.

Your final paragraph should include your strong interest in the position, recap the qualifications you listed above (3) along with a passion for _________ (list fourth qualification here). Please contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx at your earliest convience to set up an interview to learn more about the __________ position. I look forward to meeting with you.

Sincerely,

Your name

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to consider:

Do address your letter to a named individual.

Don’t use a sexist salutation, such as “Gentlemen” when answering a blind ad. “Use To Whom It May Concern or Human Resource Director”

Do keep your letter brief. Never, Never more than one page.

Do distinguish your cover letter from those of other job-seekers by quantifying and giving examples that amplify and prove the claims you make in your letter.

Do avoid negativity. Negativity never has a place in a cover letter or an interview.

Don’t forget to personally sign the letter.Next time . Making contact by phone. How to get past that pesky secretary????

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

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