By Teresa McGill
The job market has changed and dramatically. And so have basic job search tools like cover letters. Today, many of your competitors are face linking, blogging and networked. Your cover letter can still get you a job. In fact, 4 in 5 HR managers say you must have one. But now you need great cover letters, they have to be chiseled to muscle you in among the short list of interview candidates.
Here are just a few of the 28 simple, quick ways to charge up your cover letter to get you noticed:
1. Trim back your cover letter and add something unexpected. Trim your cover letter. Pare it back. And then reduce it again. The typical templates you’ll see for cover letters reach up to four paragraphs or more. Can you relate your story in less? Don’t sacrifice anything crucial. Distill. Distill. Distill. You’ll stand out for brevity.
Then include a section of client comments from colleagues in business and volunteer activities. If you don’t have testimonials, just make a brief survey for colleagues and co-workers. Even better, register for LinkedIn. They have a built-in process for collecting testimonials from people in your network. That will make for great cover letters.
2. A white stick-on label is a sure sign of a mass mailing. Direct mail advertisers have calculated that better open rates for individually hand- addressed envelopes justifies the cost of paying people to address envelopes. If you want the hiring manager to believe your job application letter and resume are meant for her, hand address the envelope.
Always use sticky stamps instead of post office indicia – the ink labels used by post offices with cost, date, and time. Post office personnel are less likely to throw away your hard written job packet as junk mail. And it won’t look like a mass mailing to the recruiting manager.
For great cover letters, use a different envelope size. Try a 9×13 envelope so you can mail your cover letter flat and unfolded. Make use of the extra space on the front side to include a compelling message such as “The letter you requested is enclosed.” Ink stamp or hand-write the message. They’re irresistible. She’ll have to open it personally. Then, your letter is in her hands.
Listen, you’re facing a huge opportunity. Every job applicant you’re competing against submits the same two docs – a resume and a cover letter. And they’re all wasting one of them completely. Imagine your advantage when your letter is optimized to make the phone ring every time.
Here’s what you need to make yourself consistently the candidate to beat:
3. Make the commitment to do the small things that added together make your job packet impossible to put down.
4. Automate your process of creating great cover letters until its so easy and so rapid that you don’t think twice about creating an optimized letter for EVERY APPLICATION (instead of using that old letter you wrote for some job that was open two months ago).
Or use a proven system like this one…
Get everything you need to write a cover letter that recruiter’s can’t look away from