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The Three Things Every Cover Letter Needs To Include In 2016

Source | FastCompany : By CAROLINE ZAAYER KAUFMAN

Recently, we discovered that the cover letter is just about dead. It’s notcompletely obsolete yet, but we learned from recruiters that they spend precious little time reviewing job candidates’ materials—and according to a recent survey, only 18% of hiring managers consider the cover letter important.

Even so, many jobs still ask you to file a letter along with your other application materials. And even if it’s optional, you might take the opportunity if they’ve asked. “The cover letter provides you with the opportunity to connect the dots for the human resources staff,” says Vickie Seitner, executive business coach and founder of Career Edge One in Omaha, Nebraska.

So if you’re going to submit one, first make sure each letter is tailored to the job you’re applying for and references the position. Second, make sure each cover letter you write includes these three elements.

1. PROOF THAT YOU’VE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK

Recruiters and hiring managers want to see that you know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s important in the early sections of your cover letter that you refer to the job, its title and the company in some form.

And don’t be afraid to do a little flattering. Impress your potential future boss with an acknowledgement of a major company success. Bonus points if that success relates to the team you’d be joining.

Management expert Alison Green, in a 2007 post on her Ask A Manager blog, gives an example of how you’d sneak this info into your cover letter narrative. This is an excerpt from her sample cover letter, which would be included as part of an application for a magazine staff writer job:

I’m impressed by the way you make environmental issues accessible to non-environmentalists (particularly in the pages of Sierra Magazine, which has sucked me in more times than I can count), and I would love the opportunity to be part of your work.

The writing is informal, flattering, and shows the job applicant knows the ropes.

2. AN EXPLANATION OF HOW YOUR SKILLS RELATE

Your cover letter is also the written explanation of your resume as it relates to the job at hand. So it’s important you explain in the letter what exactly it is you can do for this company and this role based on your previous experience.

Here’s one revolutionary approach that accomplishes this without boring the reader to death: Darrell Gurney, career coach and author of Never Apply for a Job Again: Break the Rules, Cut the Line, Beat the Rest, asks the job candidate to write what he calls a “T-Letter.”

Read On…

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