Your cover letter should be specifically written and targeted at the position you seek rather than just come across as your cover letter type ‘form letter’.
Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and why you would like to work for them – a disguised compliment perhaps… and everyone likes a compliment.
Effective cover letters also identify your relevant competencies (skills and knowledge when applied to specific tasks) supported by relevant proof statements (based on past job roles, achievements and responsibilities).
If you have been referred to a company by a mutual contact (ensure your contact is in good standing and with your potential employer) and use their name in your letter. (e.g. Fred Jones recommended I contact you regarding the position of xyz)
Your letter must include an explanation of how/where you learned of the position you are applying for and you must ensure you have the correct title of the position and/or any relevant reference number if included in their advertisement.
more next time
As you can see from the links listed on this blog I have a website with a free blank resume template. Many individuals send me their resume, I store it so, as recently happened, when they lose it I can on request send it back to the distressed resume writer.
To digress for a moment. The thing about selling and buying is that many (all) of us will seek a third party opinion before buying anything. Just stand in the women’s department of a major store and see how many people ask the sales assistant, a friend or even a passer by “what do you think does this suit me” and you will see what I mean. Yes, men do it as well!
So back to your resume:
Here are a few statements from the last few I have received:
I am hard working and fast learning – unsubstantiated claim and boastful
I do the best that I can – poor attempt at a boast verging on an excuse for past failings
I am able to troubleshoot and repair – hmm almost a boast
I am driven to pursue my ambitions and goals through relentless effort and experience [with] companies that will help me achieve my dreams – no one would want employ this person, he/she give the impression they are just in it for themselves
I [Mary1] have great customer service skills – same comment as the first example above
In a previous post I suggested you write without using personal pronouns as by doing this you give the impression of a to avoid a resume that is full of boasts and/or self centred statements.
Lets take the last one and fix it for Mary
Sales results testify to (2) great customer skills… see it sounds more credible already. Add a proof statement and wow…
or (3) Excellent customer skills are reflected in the customer survey sheets received.
Positive staff appraisals comment as to (4) great customer skills.
You tell me, if you where culling sales rep resumes, which Mary would you choose to call in for an interview?
Oh no… while writing this I just received another one that started with… “I am a well qualified individual”… urrgh
Try the free blank resume – fill in the blank sections and build your resume using the online form at www.orglearn.org
Obviously your resume needs to highlight the your breadth of knowledge (in relation to the job being advertised). Too much depth can become boring, you can give expanded information if requested at the interview stage. Just as importantly you need to show who you know. If you have reported to, or worked in project teams with senior executives such as a “vice president”, “director” or “department manager” list it in your resume. Having worked with to someone considered ‘important’ could help to convince the reader to determine that you are also ‘important’.
As in selling anything the ‘buyer’ is looking for the benefits you bring. To make a benefit statement you need to write down a full “FAB” statement to make sure you are actually listing the benefit you are offering. The best way to do this is to start with a (F) feature which turns into an (A) advantage that finally delivers a (B) benefit.
Example: Your Feature may be say, “Fred holds a full XYZ (whatever it is where you live) drivers license which means he can (Advantage) operate all vehicles in your fleet / production facility (giving the Benifit of) removing the need for additional/temporary drivers for a wide range of operations.
Another example could be: Mary has two degrees (F) which gives her (B) a solid level of knowledge in both discipline X and discipline Y which will assist (now the Benefit) in the overall integration of the organization’s functions and reduce the possibility of interdepartmental tensions.
These types of “FAB statements” help convince the potential employer that you have the competencies that it takes to be both successful in the new position and in your ongoing career with the company. Of course the benefits must relate to the desired ‘attributes’ or ‘skills’ listed in the ad you are responding to.