Maybe you’re looking for a new job. Maybe you’re looking for something more challenging, more suited to your needs and talents, more rewarding. We’ve all heard that the first impression is lasting, and well when looking for a job, your cover letter is your first impression.
First, in order to draft an effective cover letter, you need to indicate that you understand, at least, the basic facts about the employing organization. Look at their website, paying particular attention to their Mission Statement. Depending on the organization and the position sought, you may want to research clients, financial information, biographies on the big players. If your best efforts don’t turn up enough information, write requesting information.
Don’t send a resume without a cover letter.
Once you are ready, there are several things to consider as you are writing.
Explain why you are sending a resume. Be specific: For which position are you applying or would you like to be considered? Are you applying for a position that is open and has been posted or are you inquiring about future employment possibilities? If it’s the former, explain how you learned about the position or the organization. It is appropriate to mention the name of someone who suggested that you write.
Convince the reader to look at your resume. As the cover letter will be seen first, it should be well written and targeted to that employer. Is the company on the cutting edge? Do they take risks? Don’t be afraid to be a bit creative or punchy with your cover letter. Applying for a position at a conservative, straight-laced business? Your cover letter should mirror such values.
Discuss your relevant background: education, leadership, experience, and skills. Be as specific as possible, and use examples. Expose your attitude, personality, motivation, and interest.
Provide any additional information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume, such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing sample.
Indicate how you will follow-up the cover letter. Many applicants often close with “I look forward to hearing from you.” However, if the employer hasn’t said “no phone calls,” it’s better to take the initiative to follow-up. Say something like, “I will contact you in the next two weeks to see if you require any additional information regarding my qualifications.” Particularly with a letter of inquiry, where you are asking about the possibility of an opening, you cannot assume that the employer will contact you. Your cover letter should close with a similar “I will contact you in two weeks to learn more about upcoming employment opportunities with (name of organization).”
Now just mark your calendar to make the call.