In this chapter ofRIFT SUCCESS 101we discuss the coveted Cover Letter. We get tons of requests for help with this particular area of the resume submission process. It appears, that many fear the cover letter because they don't understand exactly what to include in its contents. No it isn't a complete rewording of your resume, no it isn't a form letter or application, and no it isn't where you beg them for a job. A cover letter is your prime opportunity to establish a relationship with a potential employer. If written out with care and purpose, it can mean the difference between getting the job or not. Remember, you haven't met this person yet, and your resume is an outline of what you have done in your career, so make sure that your cover letter has a personal aspect to it in order to build a rapport. How do you do that? Well, first and foremost; be sure to include the name of the company it is being addressed to, the title of the position you are applying for, and if possible the name of the addressee.
Another key point to remember when writing your cover letter is that it answers the following questions, "What makes you special and distinctive in your field of expertise? Why should you be the one to hire?" This is your prime sales pitch to the prospective employer so be sure to define yourself and your key areas of expertise. Feel free to utilize wording from your resume, but not all, highlight only the important parts which pertain to the position you are applying for. For instance, if the position you are applying for asks that you have a minimum of x amount of years experience in the field, then be sure that your bullet point states that you have led your team/have been a successful agent for x+ years etc., etc., Don't copy paste everything they've requested, outline how your career has gotten you the expertise to match what they've requested.
Okay, so we've covered the basic key points to include in your cover letter, but how do you write one? No need to chew your nails, we are about to outline what to write and where to write it. Our candidates have followed this to the letter (all puns intended) and have gotten phenomenal results.
If you don't want your cover letter to be separated from your resume, be sure you include your header. This makes it easier for the person reading to match it with your resume should it become separated. For ease, use the header you used in your resume.
On the left hand side of your letter be sure to include the information for the company you are applying to. Name, address, job reference number, job title, etc.
The "To Whom It May Concern" is very impersonal, be sure that if a contact person is given, you address them directly. If no information is given about who to address it to (for instance an firstname.lastname@example.org) then take care to address it to the Hiring Manager or Human Resources Department.
Your First Paragraph - This should be short, sweet, and to the point. Be sure to reference the position, that you are a perfect fit for the position, and that the highlights of your career are exactly what the position requires and more.
Your Second Paragraph - Here you can include 4 to 6 bullet points stating your experience, accomplishments, feats related to the position you are applying for. Try to use some of their verbiage from their job description so that they can make a quick relation. Your bullet points should be no longer than two lines, one line is best.
Now that you've gotten all of the body out of the way, you're ready for your final paragraph...the conclusion. This paragraph is designed to tie it all together in a one sentence summary. Be upbeat and energetic about looking forward to speaking/meeting with them to outline any further credentials in person. Be sure to re-read and make any corrections as needed, and always use spell check.
And that's it! The coveted Cover Letter is now complete and you're ready to send it out. Wasn't so painful right? The more you think about it, the more difficult it becomes to write. Even if you aren't the best author, no one knows you better than yourself and the prospective employer has outlined what is needed to fill the position. You have all the ammunition at your fingertips to get to the source and get yourself an appointment.
Be sure to come back for the next installment ofRIFT SUCCESS 101where we'll be revealing some secret interview tips that may land you the position the very same day. In the meantime, make it aSUCCESSful day!