MISSION POSSIBLE: Land a Great Job Fast - Increase Your Interview Opportunities, Write a Killer Cover Letter
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a captivating cover letter—one that grabs your future employer by the shirt collar and compels him or her to pick up the phone, dial your number, and offer you an interview!
Your primary objectives are to:
Five easy steps to write a killer cover letter:
1. Investigate companies of interest.
Conduct online research. Read articles in newspapers, business journals, and trade magazines to uncover hidden job markets. Where are companies expanding? Will they be hiring new employees?
2. Hook the reader from the start.
Use the first two sentences of your cover letter to:
“I read with interest an article in ABC Medical Journal of your plans to expand your pharmaceutical sales team in the Mid-South. I've lived in Memphis for the past 10 years while working for a surgical supply company and maintain daily contact with healthcare providers in the area. I hold an M.S. in Pharmacology.”
3. Be a name dropper.
If you had a referral from a friend or business associate, disclose your contact’s name in the first sentence of your cover letter.
“Karen Smith, Director of Operations for XYZ Packaging Corporation, suggested I contact you regarding the position of Logistics Manager.”
4. Zero in on your strengths.
Your cover letter will hit the mark if it focuses on the top three or four skills you have to offer the company.
“I’d like to become your newest Key Accounts Executive. With that goal in mind, I have enclosed a résumé that outlines my demonstrated success as a consistent top performer, team player, and skilled communicator.”
What you can do for the company better than anyone else? What is your niche, your area of specialty?
A candidate for an operations management position in an industry adversely affected by the recent economic downturn simply wrote:
“With over 15 years of business management experience, I am known for turning around under-performing operations, even in difficult economic times.”
In the second paragraph of your cover letter, create a bulleted list describing your core competencies. Describe how your knowledge, skills, and abilities could benefit your future employer.
5. Ask for the interview in the closing paragraph.
Your primary objective in writing a cover letter is to gain an interview. Don’t dance around the issue.
Be polite and assertive. Ask for the interview.
“I am confident that I could contribute to increasing sales, profit margins, and customer satisfaction at XYZ Corporation. May I have an appointment to discuss the possibilities?”
Another approach for writing a closing statement is to restate the position for which you want to be considered and the best time to reach you by phone. It is a subtle call-to-action for the reader—your future employer to contact you for an interview.
“I look forward meeting with you regarding the position of Nursing Administrator. The best time to reach me is between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon Central Standard Time at 123-456-7891.”
Once you've drafted your cover letter:
Job seeker, this concludes the instructions for your mission to write a captivating cover letter. Commit this information to memory. This article will self-destruct in 30 seconds … 29 … 28 … 27 … 26 … 25 … 24 … 23 … 22 … 21 ….
Copyright © 2002, 2014 by Sharla Taylor All rights reserved.
WRITTEN BY A PRO
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Austin Farmer, graphic artist, is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design where he majored in Industrial Design and minored in Architecture. Austin creates marketing materials for businesses and uses his artistic and musical talents to enhance the worship service at Compassion Church. He also draws exquisite portraits! Austin's favorite Scripture passage is Isaiah 12:2.