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9 Cover Letter Tips That Will Actually Help You to Get an Interview

9 Cover Letter Tips That Will Actually Help You to Get an Interview

Applying for a job is a lot like sex. The more interviews you get, the better your odds are. Your resume and cover letter are just your first line to get your foot in the door. If you wanna hang a sock from it, here are a few tips for crafting a a cover letter that will actually land you that interview:

1. Attach your cover letter to a great resume.

Decide what career you want, and create 5 resumes. Have one resume geared toward an entry level job and another aiming for management. Work your other 3 toward skills you have worked before. Mine are consulting, writing, and business analyses. Keep each resume down to 1 page maximum. Make them all easy to update. If you only have one job or no job history, think about what skills you used that apply to your dream career. A great cover letter is meant to introduce a great resume. Learn how to make a quick resume.

2. Write a three paragraph cover letter.

Save it in both .pdf and .doc formats (different companies like different formats), and name the file “FirstnameLastnameCoverLetter2013” so you have a quick reference of how old it is. Your cover letter and resume should always be current, even if you have a job. You never know when you may need it. Make it look professional by including the date at the top. The header should be left spaced, and there should be no indentation on the paragraphs. Start with “Dear Mr/Mrs etc” and find out the name of the person you’re sending the cover letter to. If you can’t find a name, use “To Whom It May Concern.” End your cover letter with:

“Sincerely,
 
 
First and Last Name
Phone Number
Professional Email Address”

There’s no need to put your physical address, as this should already be included on your resume, and few people respond with a physical letter. Be sure to put 2 spaces after “Sincerely,” and no spacing between your name, phone number, and email.

3. Your first paragraph should introduce yourself.

State your name. Make sure this paragraph is straight and to the point or the reader will lose interest.  Don’t just list that you have experience in management. Tell them that you manage top teams and get results. Be specific about the results and gear them toward the company. It’s great that you always exceeded your production goals. What did that accomplish? More money for the company? Better quality products? This is your chance to say something great about yourself. Don’t hold back. Here’s mine to give you an idea:

Hi ____,
My name is Brian Penny. Among other things, I’m a bank whistleblower, Anonymous collaborator, Occupy inspiration, yogi, and frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, where my pieces generate quite a bit of social media buzz. My articles on a variety of subjects have been syndicated throughout the web. I’m an expert in finance, ethics, technology, and much more.

4. Your second paragraph should be five sentences about your career goals and why you want to work for the company.

The only 2 things you need to adjust to personalize your cover letter for the position are the header “Dear Mr/Mrs/Dr _____” and the 2nd paragraph. Look up a couple facts about the company and find ways to align your goals with the goals of the company. If you’re applying for a marketing company and you’ve won sales awards, let them know both. It may sound like you’re telling them something they already know, but in doing so, you’re showing them that you did your research. This paragraph is vital in showing the company that you’re not just some desperate job seeker spamming every company you can find. It shows you put in your due diligence and selected them.

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5. Your third paragraph should list you and the company as a team.

End the letter by saying that you look forward to learning more about the company (keep It generic so you don’t have to change it each time). You’re excited to work together. Focus on how all of your past accomplishments and future goals are in line with the company’s. Use “we” statements to give the sense that you already feel like you’re working with them. You’re more likely to get a response from a someone who sees you as a comrade, brother in arms, etc.

 

questions

    6. Never end with a question.

    Don’t ask someones to call you back. Assume they will. Your last sentence should tell your potential employer that you’re patiently waiting for their response. Put the ball in their court and move on. By assuming the action, you’ll activate their natural response to be professional and courteous. Even if they decide not to hire you, they’re more likely to respond with a denial as opposed to letting you hang. If they don’t call you back, don’t worry. You’ll have applied at 100 places by then, and one of them is bound to call you back.

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    7. Always include a cover letter.

    Go online and apply for 10-30 jobs a day. I’ve lived in the biggest cities and smallest towns from coast to coast. I’m well aware of what’s available, and there’s no reason you can’t find this many jobs to apply for. Always include a cover letter. Applications and resumes with a cover letter are more likely to be looked at by a human being.

    Craigslist and Indeed offer easy resume applications for the majority of their job postings. Monster, Careerbuilder, etc often have individual applications that have to be filled out. Try to stick to ones that read your resume or LinkedIn to save time. The more resumes and applications you get in, the more possibilities there are of you getting a call back for an interview. Ensuring you have a cover letter with each application and resume greatly increases these odds.

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      8. Send your cover letter and resume to the right people.

      Your cover letter and resume may be amazing, but if you can’t get it to the right people, who cares? Get email addresses of managers and people in Human Resources to send them your cover letter as an email body along with your resume as an attachment. This will skip a lot of work on your end filling things out.

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      Here’s how: Go to the website of the company you want to work for.  Look for sections called “About Us” and “Contact Us.” These sections are where you’ll normally figure out the email format the company uses (i.e firstname.lastname@companyname.com). Once you have the email format, go to LinkedIn and find the person’s name who heads the department you’re applying for. Email that person directly to skip over many hurdles in the application process. If they refer you to an online application, you can use them as a referral to get your foot in the door quickly.

      9. A business card is a mini-cover letter.

      A business card works just like a cover letter and should be kept on you at all times. When you’re out and about, you can hand a business card to people you’re talking to. This puts your name and contact information in their hands, which is important. The best part about a business card is that it keeps your job search going even when you’re not searching. As long as people relate you to a positive experience and have your contact information, you’re doing the right thing.

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      How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

      How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

      Does it ever feel like the things you want to accomplish always end up on the back burner? If the answer to that question is “yes,” you’re not alone. Only about 33% of people consistently work toward their goals. In some cases, their goals may seem too lofty to accomplish, or else they aren’t sure how to make a plan for them.

      If you don’t come up with concrete steps to take toward your goals, they’ll remain dreams. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but being able to turn your dreams into goals you can realize will help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

      Luckily, you can realize almost any dream when you harness the right goal-setting methods.

      In this article, I’ll show you how to achieve goals and get closer you success.

      1. Break your dreams down into specific and measurable steps

      We couldn’t talk about goal-setting without mentioning SMART goals.

      SMART goals are specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related.

      Specific and measurable steps are so important because if we don’t know what our target it, how can we ever hit it?

      Take all those beautiful dreams you have for yourself and make them into things you can actually do. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, a step toward realizing your dream might be researching what you’ll need to start your business.

      Find out more tips about utilizing SMART goals here:

      How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

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      2. Have at least one clearly defined goal for every interest and role in your life

      It’s so easy to become complacent or stagnate. We often think that our careers are the only places where we need to set goals, but we aren’t only what we do.

      To make the most of your life, take the approach that you’re always learning and growing in everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well after all.

      Set goals whether you’re sponsoring an activity for your child, taking up guitar lessons or trying to prove your worth at work.

      You’ll notice that this approach forces you to constantly develop new skills. It can also be fulfilling to put more focus and value into all areas of your life— not just the ones related to our careers.

      3. Align your goals with your life’s mission, purpose and passion

      Take the opportunity to do some soul-searching. What is it that you want to do with this precious life of yours?

      Anything that conflicts with your life’s purpose is bound to cause discontent. Staying in a bad relationship, doing a job that goes against your values, or maintaining the status quo just because it’s comfortable are not options for you.

      Thinking about your goals in this way can help you eliminate things in your life that don’t serve you. This frees up mental space that you can use to do the things you care about the most.

      Many of us struggle to find the time to work on our goals, but this strategy enables you to make more time.

      4. Create goals that ignite your spirit and inspire you to take action

      If you can’t be fired up about your goals from the start, they might not be good goals for you.

      The road to success is often tough. You’re going to have times when you might feel tired or discouraged.

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      You need to feel inspired enough that you’ll be able to overcome obstacles as you encounter them.

      If what you’re doing motivates you to be the greatest version of yourself, you’ll be much more resilient.

      5. Write down all your goals in specific, measurable detail

      This is your road map for what success will look like. The more you define what you want the finished product to be, the greater the chance that you’ll reach that vision.

      When you write down your goals, you’re creating a document that you can revisit to make sure you’re on track.

      When you’re in the middle of trying to achieve a big goal, it can be hard to see what’s working for you. The things you write in this step will help you stay on-message as you take your goals out of your mind and into the real world.

      Don’t just write down your goals and stash them away in a folder somewhere. Take the extra step to put them somewhere where you’ll see them.[1]

      If you have too many goals to post on your desk, write a summary or choose one or two steps to work on for the day. Just seeing them will keep them in the front of your mind.

      6. Commit to hitting each of your targets without exception

      You wouldn’t have created the target if you didn’t think it was necessary. Hold yourself accountable for taking the steps to succeed.

      You can always adapt your strategy or break your targets into smaller steps if you find that they aren’t attainable as you originally wrote them.

      Hitting even the smallest target is cause for a celebration. It’s a step in the positive direction. Your success will make you crave more success.

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      We often make excuses when we get tired or overwhelmed. Take away the option to make excuses. You will only be satisfied with the best effort from yourself.

      7. Share your goals with others to motivate each other

      There’s something so powerful about people sharing their goals and dreams with one another. Doing so gives voice to some part of us that could remain hidden (and therefore never be accomplished).

      When other people know about your goals, they can cheer you on and hold you accountable. When people share their vision with you, you can do the same for them.

      This strategy is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. Post about your workout on social media, or do a healthy eating challenge with your best friend. You’ll be less likely to slack when temptation arises, and you’ll probably encourage someone else to reach for their goals too.

      8. Set a series of daily, weekly and long-term goals, complete with starting times and deadlines

      Many goals never reach realization simply because the goal-setter doesn’t check their progress. People tend to forget what they set out to do, or their goal gets crowded out by other obligations.

      Forcing yourself to revisit your goals at regular intervals breaks them into smaller steps and it reminds you to think about them.

      Giving yourself regular deadlines for smaller tasks related to your goals also helps you reflect on your strategy. You’ll figure out what works for you, whether your timeline is realistic, and whether or not you need additional help to stay on track.

      In addition, celebrating small wins helps you stay motivated. Here’s how:

      How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

      9. Take 10 minutes every day to imagine how great it will feel to achieve your goals

      Visualization is such a powerful tool. Some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and business people take time each day to think about how success looks and feels for them.[2] Imagining that feeling of satisfaction can be a great motivator.

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      When you do meet your goals, take some time to be grateful. Thank yourself for showing up and doing the work. Be grateful when the stars align properly to help you advance to the next step.

      It’s not just getting to the destination of your goals that matters. How you take the journey is important too.

      10. Take an action step toward reaching your goals every day

      Your goals can easily get buried in the hustle and the bustle. Even the smallest step in the right direction is still moving you forward.

      Keep chipping away at the work every day and before long, you’ll start to see those dreams come to life.

      Maybe you didn’t start your business today but you designed the logo that’s going to go on your website and business cards. Doing that task well is going to help you so much in the long run.

      Concrete actions day by day draw your dreams out of obscurity and into the realm of possibility.

      Change begins today

      Dreams can inspire and overwhelm us. By turning our dreams into goals that we can work toward, we increase our chances of success. Things that once seemed impossible are suddenly within reach.

      It’s time to start turning your dreams into goals and your goals into realities.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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