The economy has taken a dive making it difficult for people to find a job. With more applicants than available jobs, the competition can be fierce. While your resume and application is very important, a cover letter (often optional) can help you stand out. Follow these easy tips and avoid getting tossed in the trash bin.
Tip #1: Don’t Forget Important Info
This may seem like common sense but applicants have been known to forget important details. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number and email address at the top of your cover letter. And, double-check to ensure that they are typed correctly.
Tip #2: Add a Personal Touch
When considering a layout style for your cover letter, it can be done in a traditional letter style or you can be more creative and lay it out like letterhead. However, use a bit of discretion when adding a personal touch so that you don’t overdo it and end up looking cheesy.
Tip #3: Customize to Job Specifications
While you can use the cover letter to summarize your experience, skills and education, this is not the place to rehash your entire resume. Supplement what is in your resume and pick out the most relevant information. The key is to customize your cover letter so that you show precisely how what you have to offer fits the job for which you are applying. Match this information up with the requirements in the job description.
Tip #4: Research the Company
It’s also a good idea to show that you know something about the company. Search the Internet for latest news and trendy articles that you can mention about the company and industry. This indicates that you will go out of your way to make a difference to meet the needs of the company.
Tip #5: Avoid Talking About Money
Avoid including salary history and expectations – save this for negotiating when you are offered the job. If a position announcement requires it, then research average salaries and include a salary range that’s a little higher than the least amount you’re willing to accept.
Tip #6: Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You
Lastly, rather than asking the employer to call you for an interview, it’s much more effective to state a date and time for when you will call them. Show some initiative! If you do this, it’s imperative that you follow through when you say you will or risk ending up in the “reject” pile.
Check out additional resources online at sites like Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com and Coverletter.us which provide additional advice on developing cover letters that help you get job interviews. Use cover letter templates and samples as a guide but be sure you show the employer who you are, what you have to offer and how you are better than all the other applicants. There is no one-letter-fits-all!