Well, crap, you guys. I had a busy Monday. So here we are on Tuesday, posting I’ve Got a Case of the Mondays. I swear, I’ll be late for my funeral.
Today we’re talking about your cover letters. Cover letters tell the employer a little more about you. It’s where you get to make the connection between the job and why they should hire you. It’s basically a big “Objectives” section (that waste of space I made you take off your resumes).
You can do this. You’re all so smart. And it’s easier than you think. After today you’ll stop stressing out about your cover letters.
So here’s the thing. I hardly ever read a cover letter.
I KNOW! It’s so bad. It feels super good to get that off of my chest.
But just because I don’t read every 15 paragraph cover letter that crosses my desk, it doesn’t mean they’re not important or that you shouldn’t write one. You totally need a cover letter. Here’s why, when I actually decide I want to interview you (you know, because your resume was so awesome that it caught my eye), I will want to read your cover letter. Also, I personally know some really old-school HR folks that decide who to interview based more on the cover letter than the resume (in my opinion this is dumb… unless you’re applying to be an editor or a proofreader).
Here’s what I don’t want to see:
- I don’t want to read a book.
- I don’t want to know about your favorite restaurant.
- I don’t want to hear about a medical condition.
- Sports you played in high school mean nothing to me unless you’re 18-years-old.
All I want are three simple paragraphs.
Tell me why you want to work at my company (do some online research about it). HR people are COMPANY people. We LOVE our companies. And we don’t want to deal with outsiders that don’t love our company as much as we do. So we want you to tell us how much you will love our company if you get to become an insider.
I know, it’s super shallow. It’s a game. You must play the game. And don’t argue with me about this in the comments section (because I’m trying to HELP you get the job by telling you the secrets of hiring managers).
This is the part where you tell me why you would be a good fit, and you need to make this part personal to you. Make yourself likable.
This is it, the final paragraph. Here is where you remind me that you’re a Rock Star, thank me for my time, and tell me you can’t wait to meet. ASSUME THE CLOSE! In other words, you tell them you’re looking forward to your interview.
EXAMPLE OF IT ALL TOGETHER:
October 18, 2011
Some Street Address
Some City, State 12345
Dear Meredith (DO NOT start all your letters with the generic ‘DEAR SIR’),
I was so excited to see your advertisement for a Sales Consultant! I know all about your company from a customer’s point of view. I have purchased several cars from you in the past. The service we receive at the dealership has always been second to none. I have been reading your Google reviews, and I see that I’m not alone in singing Some Company’s praises. I’ve also been very impressed with how much you give back to the community. My sister’s cheerleading squad raised over $1,000 at the recent car wash they held at your store.
I’m an alumni of The University of Toledo School of Professional Sales, and my degree has taken me far in the world of retail. You should know that I worked full time in retail while attending college full time while carrying a 3.7 GPA. I’m ready to move from cellular phone sales to automobile sales. Cars are my passion, as I’m a bit of a gear head. Also, I know I can make you and me a lot of money.
With all of the corporate training I’ve received from Sprint, I know I’ll be an easy fit into your constantly changing sales environment. I am an expert with product knowledge, my closing ratio is 98%, and my customer satisfaction scores have been steady at 4.0. I look forward to our interview. Thank you for this opportunity.
See? It was easy-peasy!
Now, let’s hear your questions in the comments, and I’ll help you create the perfect letter.