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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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      Last Updated on November 3, 2020

      How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

      How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

      When you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you may create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion. However, this type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It lacks in clarity and makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing. Instead, try looking at some mind map examples to learn how to mind map and visualize your thoughts.

      Mind maps can help you zoom out and see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected. You may see connections you were missing before and find new ways of brainstorming solutions.

      Below, you’ll find more information on mind maps and see some mind map examples to inspire you next time you need to organize information.

      What Is a Mind Map?

      A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram invented by Tony Buzan[1]. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to declutter your brain or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

      In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using a pen and paper.

      The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

      How to mind map: Mind map example

        Image Credit: English Central

        By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

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        3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

        The three steps are:

        1. Set a central topic
        2. Add branches of related ideas
        3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

        Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[2]

        Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

        Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

        Word it in a clear and concise manner. It can be a single word or even a central image.

        How to mind map: start with a central idea

          Step 2 : Add Branches of Related Ideas

          What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

            Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

            Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out nearby by connecting it with shorter lines or a line of a different color. Ensure that it remains organized.

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              You can always add images or other branches later, but that’s good for now.

              In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits.” Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

              Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

              Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

              Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

              Mind map example

                I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

                In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

                Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

                You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

                • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
                • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches.
                • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

                Branch by Branch

                Start with the central topic, and add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

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                  Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                    One your ideas have filled the branches, the mind map is complete.

                    Branch by branch mind map example

                      Level by Level

                      In this “Level by Level” strategy of mind map examples, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. Here, you add elements on level 1:

                        Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                          Do the same for the next level (level 3). You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                          Level by level mind map example

                            Free-Flow

                            Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. There are no rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                            Free flow mind map example

                              Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you to help you start problem solving.

                              The Bottom Line

                              When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map using the mind map examples above. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and organize your thoughts.

                              If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective, and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on a phone and computer.

                              More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                              Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              [1] Tony Buzan Group: Home
                              [2] Verbal to Visual: A Mind Mapping Approach To Your Sketchnotes

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