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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
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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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      Published on July 27, 2021

      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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      During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

      But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

      Put the Pro in Professional

      After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

      1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

      The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

      Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

      2. Dress the Part

      While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

      Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

      For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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      Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

      3. Stage Your Workspace

      Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

      Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

      4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

      Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

      Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

      Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

      Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

      5. Arrive on Time

      In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

      Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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      6. Turn on Your Video

      Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

      If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

      Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

      7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

      Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

      Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

      Attend to the Pesky Details

      8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

      With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

      Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

      9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

      Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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      Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

      10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

      As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

      Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

      Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

      Talking Has a Time and a Place

      11. Chat Appropriately

      Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

      At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

      12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

      The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

      Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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      13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

      In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

      Manage Yourself

      14. Minimize Distractions

      While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

      Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

      15. Save Snacking for Later

      Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

      However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

      Final Thoughts

      Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

      Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

      Reference

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