Finding a job is crucial, especially during these economic times and the competition is fierce. The first step is preparing your résumé and cover letter. The one mistake that’s made when writing a cover letter is making it sound scientific. Employers receive many applications and with limited time to read them thoroughly, they skim through them searching for words that spark their interest. They look for something that makes them think wow, this person is a strong and promising candidate. Here are some tips to guide you through this tedious process.
1. Don't be afraid: The cover letter is your chance to shine bright by listing all of your accomplishments to make the employer realize you are the best candidate. Don’t be too cocky and not too blah! For instance, if you use the phrase “Demonstrated the ability to meet or exceed sales quota” – explain how this was accomplished. Example: “I met and exceeded the sales quota by establishing a follow-up campaign where I faithfully called all clients every three weeks.”
2. Make it conversational
Write your cover letter as if you're speaking with a friend. This could be your future employer, make it sound worthy of grabbing their attention. Do you talk with your spouse saying, “Dear, what type of cuisine will satisfy your appetite?” instead of “Honey what do you want for dinner?” Read your cover letter out loud and then read your favorite blog out loud. You’ll notice the difference!
3. Get straight to the point: Yes, you can list your accomplishments but don't overdo it and don't make them longer than necessary. Your achievements are the focal point in the cover letter. Simply state why you are the best candidate and give an example. Use twitter, for example, as a way to condense your thoughts. If you could tweet your cover letter using a 140 characters, what would you say.
4. Give an example of what you would bring to the table: Don’t write too much about yourself and fail to tell the employer what you can do for them. Have you ever read about a product in a brochure and still did not know what the product does? If you see that in this employer’s financials, their total number in sales were $12 million you could suggest that with your knowledge of sales, you could double this amount and give an example(s).
5. Tailoring Your Cover Letter to a Certain Profession
If it's a sales position you ar applying for-- be sure to list your sales attributes. For example, do not say you are a team player and have great organizational sales. Try to highlight your sales achievements by stating you assisted in creating one of the most profitable years for the company by landing various corporate accounts worth $600,000.
Use these tips. Don't overdo the accomplishments and don't fabricate them. That's a big no-no. Bring your authentic and real self to the cover letter because the overall goal is to get the job! Good luck!
Angie E. Morris is a small business expert for moms based in New York City. She operate MBA Moms, a professional organization for moms and mommies-to-be with their MBAs, pursuing an advanced degree and starting and operating their own business. Her most exceptional role is being a wife and mom to a 2-year-old.