What is a Covering Letter?
It’s the document that needs to be inserted with your resume or CV when it’s sent to a prospective employer. It needs to detail which vacancy you’re interested in, explain who you are, show a summary of your skills, qualifications, or job experience.The most powerful secret of a covering letter is the one most people either don’t know or forget about.
The task of a covering letter is to get a prospective employer to read your resume or CV – not get you the interview (that’s the resume of the CV’s job) nor directly get you the job (that’s what the interview is for).
The traditional format is simple. It should consist of a single page, neatly written or typed, with the initial paragraph introducing yourself to the prospective employer, which vacancy you’re interested in and how you heard about it.
In the second you should summarise any specific skills, qualifications, or experience related to the vacancy. Don’t go into too much detail – this is your covering letter – just give them the broad strokes, then refer the reader to your CV or resume for more details.
In the next paragraph instead of trying to show the reader how great you are, turn it around and show them how their company will benefit from hiring you? Keep referring them to the CV. “as you can see on my resume, my 5 years as a Technical Manager. “but don’t lay it on too thick, otherwise your covering letter will be heading for the bin.
The Ultimate Covering Letter Strategy
Here’s one strategy that I know works because I’ve used it before – many times – to get an interview, and it’s something that practically NOBODY does.
Want to know what it is? OK, here it is.
Talk to other employees and ask if it’s OK to mention their names in your covering letter.
Yep, it’s that simple, but this simple strategy performs 2 important functions. One, you gain valuable research data into the company, where its heading, staff morale, etc, and secondly, by being able to put an existing employee’s name into your letter, it automatically shows you as someone serious about getting hired.
Imagine having this:
“I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a few of the employees at your company. David Smith in Human Resources was especially helpful. The answers to the questions I asked regarding how they like working there were all positive. This not only impressed me but“
Looks great, doesn’t it? If I was an employer and got a covering letter & resume/CV through with a paragraph like this, I wouldn’t be able to get to the phone quick enough to organize an interview.
Use this “killer” covering letter strategy and watch the number of letters and phone calls you get to arrange an interview go through the roof.
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