Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cover Letter Tips to Getting an Interview

The power of a well-crafted cover letter is understood by job seekers, that knowing how to construct an effective introductory letter is an essential part of job skills training. Cover letter not only introduces you to the hiring manager, but it is also the first step to making an impression. Consider these important factors when formulating a cover letter:

Cover letters should always be given along with your resume when applying for a job position, unless you are personally going to introduce yourself to the interviewer. There are two different types of cover letters: a cover letter that is used to apply for a position and a cover letter that inquires about employment or internship opportunities. The proper cover letter should be executed accordingly.

Cover letters should not be a lengthy letter; it should be brief, simple and straight to the point. Most hiring managers glance at cover letters due to the fact that they have 50 or more resumes/cover letters when going through the hiring process. 3-4 paragraphs are the ideal length in an introduction letter.

As there are rules and formats to resume writing, the same goes for cover letters as well. When looking at cover letters, hiring managers are searching for 4 main points:

1. What position you are applying for
2. How/when/where you learned about the position/company
3. Why the interviewer should hire you above all others
4. Who will contact who if needed

The format of a cover letter depends on how it’s being delivered: email, traditionally etc.
In a traditional business letter format, the four questions should be constructed accordingly:

Heading/Date/Inside Address: In a standard business-letter format, make sure your letter’s design matches the resume aesthetically.

Salutation: When addressing the letter, make sure to be specific. This is where research comes in. Before you begin your letter writing, try to find out more about the company you are applying to. Try to address the cover letter to the specific hiring manager if possible. If not possible, use “Dear Hiring Manager,” “Dear Sir/Madam,” “To Whom it May Concern.”

Introduction: State clearly the position you are applying for, including the reference code, referral source if applicable. A brief overview of your quality can be also included in the first paragraph.

Career history: This is where you sell yourself. This is where you outline in detail your accomplishments, qualifications, and why you’re perfect for the job in detail. What you input in the second part of your paragraph is going to be the deciding factor for hiring managers to call you in for an interview or not.

Closing statement: The last paragraph is where you can express your interest in the position, clearly stating your attributes if hired and inform the hiring department on how you would follow-up with them.

Complimentary Closing: End professionally: Best Regard, Sincerely, Respectfully yours etc.

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