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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 [email protected]). 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 March 25, 2019

      How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

      How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

      Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

      But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

      Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

      “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

      It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

      Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

      As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

      As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

      Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

      Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

      1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

      When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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      Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

      2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

      Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

      But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

      If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

      3. Go to All Office Networking Events

      Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

      If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

      Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

      Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

      The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

      Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

      4. Show Initiative

      Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

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      Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

      Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

      5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

      Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

      Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

      6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

      A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

      Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

      Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

      A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

      Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

      Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

      These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

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      Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

      7. Find a Mentor

      With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

      Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

      Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

      8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

      After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

      What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

      Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

      Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

      You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

      9. Set Your Professional Bar High

      Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

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      Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

      Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

      Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

      The Bottom Line

      Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

      “Half of life is showing up.”

      The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

      Remember, your career is your business!

      More Resources About Ever-Growing

      Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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