There’s a lot of advice out there on how to write that one cover letter – you know – the one (not Neo) that will get you the coveted interview. Just slap “cover letter” into your Google search box and you’ll get back hundreds of thousands of results. Heck, do it on my little site and you’ll get back dozens and dozens articles with advice, how-to’s, and tips by some of the best auther out there.
But of them all, I really like Phil Baker and the tidbits of wisdom he dispenses.
Seems to me – more than most – he really keys on what’s important. Cover letters are selling sheets. That’s all.
You use cover letters to get the hiring manager or recruiter interested enough to read your resume with a touch more curiosity than the other resumes (a truly provocative and compelling cover letter might even make the resume moot).
And you do that by making the cover letter all about the employer. You speak to your abilities to solve his problems. It’s solutions and benefits. It’s selling the sizzle (the resume’s the steak)
Condensing a resume to your cover letter is bragging and worthless.
Phil hits it out of the ballpark AGAIN with this great posting.
Read, learn, use, and get that job…
Cover Letters: The Difference Between Bragging and Selling
by Phil Baker,
How is it some cover letters sound like bragging while others say things almost the same way and are selling? Because there is a difference between bragging and selling. Boasting is when the writing is all about you. Selling is when the writing is all about them. You want potential employers to know how terrific you are, but as tempting as this might be, do not just write about your greatest accomplishments. First review the employer’s job posting or description and find out the qualifications they are seeking. Find the exact skills they are seeking and then write about how you have used those skills to leap tall buildings in a single bound faster than a speeding locomotive!
There are most always hundreds of resumes for every job opening. In order to get a job interview you need cover letters that cause employers to want you. A resume shows your skills and might make you stand out from the crowd, but before your potential employer ever sees your resume, he or she sees your cover letter. Did you know most employers do not open as many as half of all the resumes they receive? Many resumes get tossed in the trash or deleted after a hasty glance or without even being seen.
Resume writing services might create great resumes but most of the time that is all. Most resume writing services do exactly that; write resumes. They are not marketing writers and do not create marketing ad copy. They often do cover letters as a second or add on service. Resume writing is nothing like what you need in cover letters. You need powerful advertising copy to cause employers to take action and contact you. You need words and sentences that make a connection with the employer and sell the skills they are seeking to grab their attention. Great advertising copy can fill your schedule with job interviews even if you have had little or no success for months. When you have writing that gets the attention and interest of your reader and creates a burning desire within her, you can literally cause her to take action.
Cover Letters That Sell
To give your resume a fighting chance, your cover letters must sell the expertise the employer is seeking and clearly communicate you are a candidate they want to interview. You need to make sure they know you have the qualifications they need and the extra talent they desire. There are several tactics you can use to get employers to pick up the phone and call you immediately.
One secret to showing employers you are a star is by using action words in your cover letters. You do not show anyone you are a desirable person to interview if you have a letter filled with boring, common words. When you use action words, you can make the hiring manager scramble for the phone to contact you for an interview. An action word is a verb that you can use to describe something spectacular you did for an employer, while volunteering or in school. You can make your writing come alive with vibrant action words. Let potential employers know that you are the energetic person they will look to who will leap those tall buildings!
Your cover letters can make employers conclude you are exactly the person they have been looking for. When you use action words and resume keywords that match the important skills for that particular potential employer, they see you as the one who can benefit them. This means writing a distinctive letter for every job that you apply for, and results in having a much greater chance of getting interviews.
Another way to sell instead of coming across as bragging is to think about who you are writing to and focusing on that person. Find out everything you can about the individual that will likely read your writing and stand out by speaking to her. Your cover letters need to explain that you have the skills and exactly how your expertise has benefited other companies. When you address someone by name and focus on that employer’s needs, you show the person that you are the one to interview because you have thought about how you will benefit them.
You can use proven cover letters that have caused employers to interview candidates. See cover letters that are powerful marketing pieces that you can customize to fit your skills and the employer’s desires.
Copyright 2011 by Phil Baker
Hyo’s Note – Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator Software Program (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com. Resume Dictionary might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.
Other articles by Phil Baker