In a cover letter, you must convince the employer that you’re someone worth listening to and seriously considering as an employee. You do this by explaining that you have exactly the qualities the company needs.
The best way to accomplish this is to briefly state your most important qualifications. The employer doesn’t have a lot of time, and he’ll appreciate your conciseness. The following paragraph does everything it’s supposed to do. It’s clear, concise, and to-the-point:
Security Management requires expertise in risk assessment and management, physical security, surveillance, access control, and security systems. As a former Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, I can provide your company first-rate experience and education and can meet your most stringent qualifications.
A paragraph like this doesn’t pull any punches. It’s straightforward. It gets the job done. It says, plainly,
“This is what I’ve done in the past, and this is what I’m going to do for you in the future.”
Wishing you could do the same? You can! In the very next chapter, you’ll learn how to take your unique qualities and use them to sell yourself. It’s called the USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, and I’ll show you exactly how to develop it.
Do you know why this is such an effective format, even though it appears so simple? Because, ultimately, the information it contains is all the employer wants to know at this stage. The employer doesn’t care whether you coach a Little League team. He doesn’t need to hear that you were the star of your college drama club. He probably won’t want to know about your expertise at Adobe Photoshop if he’s considering you for a financial management position.
When an employer is trying to choose an addition to his staff, what he really wants to know is whether the candidate has the requirements stated in the job ad and whether he can actually deliver the services the company is willing to pay for.
When you clearly state what you can offer the company, you’re assuring the employer that you’ll excel in that position if hired. Such statements demonstrate that you know the ins and outs of the position, that you understand the needs of the company, and that you’re serious about wanting to work there.
You’re also making it clear that you’re applying for the job because you have what it takes. You’re showing the employer that you considered the requirements and that you aren’t just applying on a whim. A strong middle section of a cover letter tells the reader that if he hires you, you’re going to be a real benefit to the company.
If you match what you have to their needs, you’re positioning yourself well in this middle section. Therefore, you need relevant specifics that will convince an employer to call you. If you sound, on paper, like the kind of person who can do the job, of course he’ll want to meet you in person.
Appearance is key. Your letter should stand out, which means being completely professional. Make sure you address the letter properly and to a particular contact person rather than to a department or a company.
Karen Silins has been a professional resume and cover letter writer for 16 years and is the acting president and executive board member of the Association of Online Resume & Career Professionals
For more information about writing a cover letter that will grab the employerâ€™s attention, please visit: Breakthrough Cover Letters