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How I Get Interview Opportunities Every Time with One Impressive Letter

How I Get Interview Opportunities Every Time with One Impressive Letter

Let’s admit it, applying for jobs is a time-consuming, and sometimes soul-destroying process. With technology that simplifies the task at hand, we can become a little lazy at the job application game. This definitely does not do us any favours.

Pro Tips from Professionals For A Kick-Ass Cover Letter

Many recruiters still require a covering letter to accompany a CV/resume, and this is your only chance to stand out from the sometimes hundreds of other hopeful, job-hungry applicants. I have interviewed top recruiters and business people who have supplied the very best insider cover letter tips to enable you to be the cream that rises to the top of the applicant pile.

1. Make it personal

Do your research and find a specific person in charge of the hiring process and then address your cover letter to them. It’s much better than a “To Whom it May Concern” or “To Hiring Manager.” — Danny Garcia, Marketing Operations Manager at Stacklist[1]

2. Make it readable

Keep your paragraphs short and easy to understand. It’s intimidating to open a cover letter with two to three GIANT blocks of text.

“I recently received an amazing cover letter that applied someone’s past experience with what we do in our industry. I’d be very impressed if it was a template, because it was so specific. They immediately went on my short list.”

3. Make it quick and specific

Why are you a fit? What does the company do that you love? How can you make a difference? Three quick sentences. If it gets too long and you summarise your career, you’ll lose them. If it’s too impersonal or vague, it will be irrelevant. Be quick, but detailed and relate directly to the company. — Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation[2]

4. Show your passion

Show you want a job from THIS company – not just ANY company. Show you’ve done your research (but really do your research). If it’s a company for which you really want to work, it comes across!

5. Endeavour to stand out

My favorite line is, “Mr/Ms. I know you are incredibly busy and I want you to know you have found your candidate so there is no need to look any further”. The reality is that most hiring managers are interviewing candidates in addition to doing their regular job. When you can swoop in with insider information into why you are the right fit you will rise to the top. — Heather Monahan, Workplace expert aka Boss In Heels[3]

6. Make reference to a familiar peer

The best cover letters include the name of someone you and the hiring manager have in common. By finding someone on the inside to advocate for you, you will advance to a face to face interview quickly.

7. Make it different to your resume

The vast majority of cover letters I receive are completely mundane; typically, these letters rattle off a laundry list of achievements and past work experiences. But here’s the thing – that’s what your resume is for. The last thing any HR manager or recruiter wants to read is your resume in a different format. — Lidia Salerno, Human Resources Generalist, Trustpilot[4]

8. Stay in character

Is the job in the creative industry? Then feel free to be creative. Is the job corporate? You get the picture. Without losing who you are, tailor your cover letter with a voice so perfect that you come across as though you were made for the role. — Harrison Peters, Adult Dating Entrepreneur[5]

9. Don’t overdo it

Don’t overuse all the buzzwords and definitely don’t overdo it, be clear, honest and committed. — Gregor Schellhammer, Managing Director, AbroadWise[6]

10. Follow the instructions

Countless times I have been left frustrated by job applications with information missing that I have specifically asked for. If the applicant can’t follow instructions at this stage, I would doubt they can when it comes to doing the job. — Sal Stevens, Human Resources Manager, Older Dating[7]

11. Be you

It’s best to try to be your true self and show your personality as best you can in a few sentences. I’ve always appreciated a cover letter that gives me a sense of the individual. — Jana Tulloch, CPHR, Human Resources Professional, DevelopIntelligence[8]

12. Be unique

Use your cover letter to show off what makes you unique. A strong cover letter can be compared to a good elevator pitch. It should offer something fresh and unexpected–something that makes you, the “product” being pitched, memorable. If what makes you valuable is a bit unconventional, don’t be afraid to say so. — Hannah Steffensen, GPS Trackit[9]

13. Remember the buzzwords

It is important to keep in mind that in today’s fast-paced and technology-infused market, most large employers are utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to search by “key words” on cover letters and resumes to attract the right talent. Sure, a well-written cover letter can set you apart from your competition if it’s appealing and captivating, but if it has not been sprinkled with key words, it may get overlooked. It is critically important to closely study the job posting or advertisement and incorporate some of the qualifications, attributes and buzzwords into your cover letter. Doing so will increase your chances to getting noticed. — Julie R. Woodard, SPHR, Woodard & Associates, LLC[10]

14. Let your enthusiasm shine

It can be such a dull job to sift through hundreds of job applications. When I come across a cover letter where the enthusiasm shines off the page, and that I simply enjoy reading, I really take note. More often than not, I stick that one on the ‘to interview’ pile. — Andrew Hammond, Recruiter, WeLoveDates[11]

15. Be honest

There are countless times that I have received applications for job roles where I can smell the exageration a mile off. When you embellish and lie your way through a job application, it will only come back to bite you on the butt. Most of the time, the successful applicant won’t have all the skills required anyway (and the recruiter is just being a little optimistic/unrealistic), so don’t be put off applying, but be honest about it. — Jessica Munday, Founder, Real Parent & Real Wedding[12]

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Covering Letters Examples that Landed the Job

The memorable one

“A memorable cover letter for a back-end engineer role started off in standard form but ended with a paragraph of computer code. It was only when I put the letter into a member of our tech team’s hands that we figured out what is said:

This message brought to you by your next all-star developer.

There are times when playing it safe is warranted; I’d never recommend this sort of out-of-the-box approach for a traditional corporate role in most cases. But the best applicants know when to send up a flare to help them stand out from the pack.

And in all cases, quality candidates with good cover letters know how to tell a story that provides a little insight into who they are as a person.”

The dynamic one

“The Marketing Director career opening as advertised on (Advertisement source) has really piqued my interest. If you are seeking to augment your leadership team with an experienced and accomplished marketing professional known for breakthrough results, please consider my resume. I possess over 15 years of marketing and communications leadership and management experience. My core competencies include content generation, data analytics and company branding.

Currently, I serve as the Marketing Manager for ABC Company. For the past seven years, I have been responsible for setting budgets for marketing plans, planning promotional campaigns, initiating market research studies and meeting with clients to provide marketing advice.

In the past, I have worked with Fortune 500 companies where leading marketing operations was my focus. By partnering closely with business leaders, I helped align business goals with marketing strategy. In addition, I possess a proven track record of fostering positive employee relations, communications and enhancing performance management.

I am searching for the right opportunity with a well-established and stable company where I can share my expertise, leadership and “roll up my sleeves” to add value to the company. I am seeking a long-term career opportunity and am excited at the possibility of joining your dynamic team. I am confident in my ability to achieve your expectations and goals as outlined in the job posting.

I may be reached via email at (e-mail) or direct at (telephone number). I look forward to hearing from you to discuss my past work experience and learning more about the opportunity.

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Thank you for your time and kind consideration.”[13]

The confident one

“After spending three years managing the internal communications for a 2,000-person company, I could plan a quarterly town hall or draft an inter-office memo in my sleep. What I want to do next? Put that experience to work consulting executives on their communications strategy…”[14]

The upbeat one[15]

    The brutally honest and self deprecating one

    “My name is (BLOCKED) and I am an undergraduate finance student at (BLOCKED). I met you the summer before last at Smith & Wollensky’s in New York when I was touring the east coast with my uncle, (BLOCKED). I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk with me that night.

    I am writing to inquire about a possible summer internship in your office. I am aware it is highly unusual for undergraduates from average universities like (BLOCKED) to intern at (BLOCKED), but nevertheless I was hoping you might make an exception. I am extremely interested in investment banking and would love nothing more than to learn under your tutelage. I have no qualms about fetching coffee, shining shoes or picking up laundry, and will work for next to nothing. In all honesty, I just want to be around professionals in the industry and gain as much knowledge as I can.

    I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crapp (sic) about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship. The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you. I’ve interned for Merrill Lynch in the Wealth Management Division and taken an investment banking class at (BLOCKED), for whatever that is worth.

    I am currently awaiting admission results for (BLOCKED) Masters of Science in Accountancy program, which I would begin this fall if admitted. I am also planning on attending law school after my master’s program, which we spoke about in New York. I apologize for the blunt nature of my letter, but I hope you seriously consider taking me under your wing this summer. I have attached my resume for your review. Feel free to call me at (BLOCKED) or email at (BLOCKED). Thank you for your time.”[16]

    The creative one

      “Twenty-year-old Alice Lee used her design skills to create an interactive website, complete with an Instagram stream with the social network’s API. Instagram didn’t end up hiring Lee, but she did get to speak to CEO Kevin Systrom, and Lee’s site eventually led to an internship with another company.”[17]

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      The ‘flattery gets you everywhere’ one

      “Having grown up with the Cincinnati Zoo (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you’ve earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly venues in the State of Ohio. For 20 years, I’ve been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me.”[18]

      The enthusiastic one

      “It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application for the position of Sales Coordinator for the Westeros Castle Project. As an administrative professional with over ten years’ experience, I know my diverse skills and qualifications will make me an asset to the Westeros project team.

      As you will see from the attached resume, I’ve built my career in a variety of roles and industries, mostly in small companies where I was not just the admin but also gatekeeper, technology whiz, bookkeeper and marketing guru. I’m not only used to wearing many hats, I sincerely enjoy it; I thrive in an environment where no two work days are exactly the same.

      In addition to being flexible and responsive, I’m also a fanatic for details – particularly when it comes to presentation. One of my recent projects involved coordinating a 200-page grant proposal: I proofed and edited the narratives provided by the division head, formatted spreadsheets, and generally made sure every line was letter-perfect and that the entire finished product conformed to the specific guidelines of the RFP. (The result? A five-year, $1.5 million grant award.) I believe in applying this same level of attention to detail to tasks as visible as prepping the materials for a top-level meeting and as mundane as making sure the copier never runs out of paper.

      Last but certainly not least, I want you to know that I’m a passionate Westeros fan and a longtime supporter of the new castle. I’ve been following the new castle movement since the earliest days of the original “Save the Tombs” campaign, and I am so excited to see this vision becoming a reality. I’ve already checked out the new castle website, and the renderings of the new throne and great hall are stunning, to say the least – I particularly love the vintage murals and art featured throughout the building. Nice touch!

      In closing, I am thrilled at the possibility of being involved in the new castle almost literally from the ground up, and would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the value that I can bring to the Targaryen organization and the Westeros Castle Project. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.”

      Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

      Reference

      [1]Danny Garcia, Marketing Operations Manager at Stacklist
      [2]Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation
      [3]Heather Monahan, Workplace expert aka Boss In Heels
      [4]Lidia Salerno, Human Resources Generalist, Trustpilot
      [5]Harrison Peters, Adult Dating Entrepreneur
      [6]Gregor Schellhammer, Managing Director, AbroadWise
      [7]Sal Stevens, Human Resources Manager, Older Dating
      [8]Jana Tulloch, CPHR, Human Resources Professional, DevelopIntelligence
      [9]Hannah Steffensen, GPS Trackit
      [10]Julie R. Woodard, SPHR, Woodard & Associates, LLC
      [11]Andrew Hammond, Recruiter, WeLoveDates
      [12]Jessica Munday, Founder, Real Parent & Real Wedding
      [13]Julie R. Woodard, SPHR, Woodard & Associates, LLC
      [14]The Muse: Source
      [15]Visual CV: Source
      [16]Forbes Source
      [17]Mashable: Source
      [18]Forbes: Source

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      Last Updated on October 22, 2018

      Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start?

      Do You Have to Give Everything Up to Get a Fresh Start?

      There is a common belief that when you want to embark or start on something new, whether it be a project, a hobby, a job or some big life change, a certain sacrifice must be made. “Out with the old, and in with the new” as they say. It’s almost as if we’re not capable of handling more than what we already have unless we let go of something. But is that really always the case?

      When I was young, I took up violin lessons. I enjoyed playing the violin, but when I saw a friend playing the guitar, I got interested in that and wanted to start playing the guitar. My parents however, insisted that I continue with violin lessons and felt I should give my full attention to one instrument, rather than a few; they didn’t believe in being a Jack of all trades. And so sadly, I never got to take up guitar lessons.

      Afraid of Giving it Up?

      Have you found yourself in a similar circumstance? Perhaps you’re at a crossroad right now, and you’re trying to decide on whether to stay on in your current job, or move on to something completely different.

      You’re not truly doing something you love or are passionate about, and so you want to make that change… but it’s a risky plunge.

      You’re going to have to sacrifice everything that you’ve worked for over the years. You’re going to have to say goodbye to that big salary, the benefits that comes with the job, and you’re going to have to adjust to the changes.

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      Thinking of all that is already detering you from stepping out to take that plunge, isn’t it?

      Or maybe you have many responsibilities in life and little time for yourself. You have a spouse and children to take care of, maybe you’ve even got aging parents to think of.

      At work, you’ve got subordinates waiting on you for advice. As a leader, you have to manage the team. You’ve got conference calls in different time zones to take, business trips to make, decisions to execute.

      You have a lot on your plate, and you wish you could just set aside some time to enjoy the pleasures in life. Golf more, take the kids out more, go on vacations more.

      Sure, if you wanted all that time, you could take on a lower paying job that would require less of your time. But that would mean a big pay cut and less comfort in your life. If not, you’ll just have to wait till retirement.

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      Play It Safe and Regret It Later

      In these situations, it usually feels like an all or nothing approach. And, it then becomes the ‘smart’ thing to just ignore the challenge and stay put. Unless you’re overly confident that things are going to work out, or that you have a back up plan in place, most people never truly dare to take on new opportunities after a certain age or stage in life for fear of losing out, falling behind or having to give up whatever it is that they’ve already accomplished thus far.

      But this is also where many individuals end up feeling regret much later on in life, perhaps as they approach retirement and have a sense of unfulfillment. There is an emptiness or a lack that they start feeling because they never answered their ‘calling’ or satisfied their heart’s desires. You may end up feeling short changed and unhappy with how things have turned out.

      Most people end up feeling more bitter over the regrets of not having done or tried something, rather than in the mistakes they made when they tried something. It’s always the ‘what ifs’ that will go on to haunt you.

      No Sacrifice Needed!

      The good news is, you don’t actually have to make such a big sacrifice when it comes to change! You can carry on with your existing way of life, your job or your responsibilities while changing or doing something new.

      It’s really not that hard because everything that you do in life, whether it’s your career, relationships or even health, are driven by 7 Cornerstone Skills. These are 7 qualities that if you have them, can make you excel at anything. And we already have most, if not all, of these 7 Cornerstone Skills; we just don’t always know how to use them to the best of our abilities.

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      Unfortunately, some of us may not even know the importance of these Cornerstone Skills, and how just sharpening one skill can significantly improve the wellbeing of your life.

      If you’re that busy professional with far too much on your plate, thinking there’s nothing you can do to lighten the weight so that you can breathe a little and have time to enjoy life, then think again.

      Because I can show you some proven techniques that will improve your Focus significantly, and the way you manage your Time. You’ll end up investing in more time, than spending time unnecessarily, thus giving you the ability to enjoy some of that time for yourself.

      By learning to Learn again, you’ll be able to grasp knowledge a lot quicker, allowing you to manage your responsibilities in a smart manner.

      These are just 3 of the 7 Cornerstone Skills that I’ve mentioned. By harnessing the potential of all 7, you will realize that if you truly want to achieve a certain goal or ambition, you need not worry about having to trade off a certain aspect of your life.  Instead, you’ll be able to work around things, or improve things even faster because of the skills that you’ve now enhanced from understanding how these 7 Cornerstone Skills work together.

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      Making a life improvement, career switch or new goal pursuit can easily happen without risky trade-offs once you know how to harness your Cornerstone Skills into your existing life.

      Ready to learn more about the 7 Cornerstone Skills and find out why they’re so important? Subscribe to our newsletter today and begin making that change you’ve been wanting to, without sacrifices!

      Featured photo credit: Martha Dominguez de Gouveia via unsplash.com

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