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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 August 16, 2018

      16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

      16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

      The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

      How about a unique spin on things?

      These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

      1. Empty your mind.

      It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

      Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

      Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

      Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

      How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

      2. Keep certain days clear.

      Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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      This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

      3. Prioritize your work.

      Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

      Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

      Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

      How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

      4. Chop up your time.

      Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

      5. Have a thinking position.

      Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

      What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

      6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

      To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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      Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

      7. Don’t try to do too much.

      OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

      8. Have a daily action plan.

      Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

      Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

      9. Do your most dreaded project first.

      Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

      10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

      The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

      11. Have a place devoted to work.

      If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

      But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

      Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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      Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

      12. Find your golden hour.

      You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

      Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

      Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

      Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

      13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

      It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

      By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

      Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

      14. Never stop.

      Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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      Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

      There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

      15. Be in tune with your body.

      Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

      16. Try different methods.

      Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

      It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

      Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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