Writing a good cover letter is a very straight forward exercise.Â Â It need not be a bothersome chore, made all the more painful by its importance.Â And it is important.Â Listen to the all the guruâ€™s, or read their columns; and it is clear that cover letters are a non-negotiable part of what you send to employers.
I am a paint by the numbers kind of guy.Â I really do need it laid out in front of me if I am to understand it.Â And most advice regarding cover letters seem far too theoretical to me.Â So I am going to attempt to get back to basics as I lay out how to write a cover letter.
Most cover letters fail for the same reason many inexperienced sales representatives fail.Â All sales representatives begin the same, but it is only those who reflect, adapt, and retool that become successful and seasoned.
Most young or inexperienced sales professionals sell the product.Â Regardless of how much training they have received or scenarios they have practiced, when crunch time comes; they sell the product.Â When buyers raise legitimate concerns, the salesperson launches an artillery barrage of the productâ€™s greatness in hopes of beating the buyer into submission before moving on.
Those who reflect on why they could not close a sale, in time, understand that the good professionals sell solutions, not products.Â They adapt their approach to listening and solving the buyerâ€™s problems and concerns.Â They retool their behavior to focus on needs of the buyer.
It is the same with writing cover letter.Â Before you put pen to paper, you must assess and answer the following questions.
- Who is the recipient of your letter (by name and job title)?
- What does he or she want?
- What is his or her problem?
- How are you the solution to his or her problem?
- WhatÂ proof do you have to support your claim to being the solution?
Once you have done this research, the letter writes itself.Â You answer the questions.Â And in answering the questions, you formulate the initial outline of the letter.Â With that outline, you need only add a supporting sentence.Â Â The final letter should have no more than 6 sentences.
The proof is your resume.Â Answer number one is the address and salutation.
Write your letter in straight forward fashion with strong, active verbs.Â Your last sentence must always ask for action, that is, state that you want the reader to call you.
That in a nutshell is how you should formulate your cover letter.