Putting together a winning resume is the first step in grabbing the attention of a potential new employer, but the other key component in setting yourself apart from the competition is a cover letter that gets results.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “A cover letter? What is this, 1977?” And you’d be partially correct. Gone are the days of mailing resumes on off-white, high cotton content paper and including a type written cover letter, but the concept of an introduction tailored specifically to a certain company and/or position highlighting how your exact skills are a great match for the job should not be underestimated.
In a world of digital communications, setting yourself apart in some meaningful way can only help you in your job search by adding color and life to what has often come to be a bland and faceless process.
So, whether your cover letter is actually typed on paper, included as part of an online application, emailed, or communicated in some other way, it’s still important.
The 4 Step Cover Letter Strategy:
Step 1: Your target audience.
Spend some time researching who the actual decision maker is and address your cover letter to that individual person. While you can’t always determine who that is, the fact of the matter is that if you can send an application/resume and cover letter to someone specific, it will have a much greater impact and definitely get noticed.
Step 2: Content of your cover letter.
How does your experience and personal skill set mesh with the needs of the company and the deliverables of the job, as outlined in the job description? Look at all of this from the hiring manager’s viewpoint. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. If you were making the hire, why are you the one for the job? What makes you the one who will return the greatest bang for the buck? Be specific and include examples from your past experience that would be important in this new role.
Step 3: Ask for an interview.
The sole function of your resume and the cover letter is to garner enough interest to secure a face to face meeting. The old adage in sales is, “Never sell on the phone,” which is to mean that you want to set an appointment and get in front of your prospect before you start selling. The same holds true when looking for a job. Your cover letter needs to include a call to action, so be sure to state that you’d like an interview, because most people don’t.
Step 4: Follow up.
In conjunction with point 3 above, you need to follow up on the submittal of your application/resume and cover letter. Pick up the phone and make a call. When you get a live person on the other end, ask for an interview. You would be amazed at how many people take the time to carefully craft their resume and a cover letter, send it out, but never follow up. In a competitive marketplace, the person that actually ends up getting the job is often the one who expressed the greatest interest. Always remember that fortune favors the bold. Always take the time to follow up and follow through.
Having a strong cover letter strategy, a well written resume, and a plan for approaching your job search will eventually land you the job you want, but if you want some extra help along the way, contact the professionals at STS Staffing.
For more helpful tips on your job hunt, read our blog, “The 3 Most Important Soft Skills for Your Job Search.”