Understand that most cover letters do not get read. It is only after some level of interest in you is established that your cover letter might get read. Regardless, it is always a good job search strategy to write a well-crafted and persuasive cover letter. Doing so immediately differentiates you from other job seekers by highlighting strong points in your background, providing a sample of your writing ability and shows initiative – you made the effort to write a letter when other job seekers did not.
What follows is a cover letter success formula which has proven successful over the course of time. For every letter you write it must be targeted to the job that you are perusing. It must be short and to-the-point (long cover letters don’t get read). It must be proof read with a “fine tooth comb”. Now onto the cover letter success formula:
For your cover letter to be effective, you must quickly gain the attention of the employer. Begin your letter with something that will grab the attention of the hiring executive or be thought provoking. Here are a few ideas:
- Mention the name of a personal or professional reference, if you have one.
- Come out swinging with one of your top achievements.
- Identify yourself with a unique or sought-after skill or knowledge base.
- Refer to a business statistic that would be relevant to the employer.
- Mention a recent company event or news release that is significant.
- State your letter by quoting a recommendation or positive statement in your past performance reviews.
After you have the hiring executive’s attention, identify yourself by job function which matches one that the company already has. Use the exact wording for the job title used by the company, if you can. This immediately makes you relevant and encourages the hiring executive to read on. For example:
As in industrial engineer with 20 years of manufacturing experience…
I am a senior level account management professional specializing in…
Showcase an Accomplishment/Qualification
The accomplishments paragraph is important now that you have created interest and matched a known company role. This is where you tell them how good you are or how uniquely qualified you are.
Make your accomplishments relevant by identifying the positions key requirements, linking your qualifications to them, and then show your achievements (results) in each or most of the job functions. In other words, tell the hiring executive that you can do the job and have a track record of doing well. For example, here is a job description for a Director of Operations:
Candidate must have at least ten years’ experience managing multisite locations Individual will have experience with the following: process management systems, personnel management, performance improvement, and emergency response plans.
When writing your cover letter, match the exact wording to demonstrate your skills
in the listed job requirements. This paragraph of your cover letter could look like this
(important portions in bold for clarification):
In the last fifteen years, I have worked as a director of operations for three manufacturers in the plastics industry. During my most recent position at See Through Plastics, LLC, I had success in the following areas:
- Managed four manufacturing facilities in four separate regions of the country. Exceeded production and profit goals for the last five consecutive years.
- Designed and implemented a process management system that resulted in improved production efficiency by 32 percent and increased product output by 20 percent.
- Created a workplace accountability matrix with floor supervisors that decreased
absenteeism of workers by 15 percent while improving productivity per worker by 21 percent.
Provide Additional Information
In this paragraph (Should you decide to include it) you have a fair amount of latitude on what information to mention. Choose topics that are relevant or impressive to the employer. This could include a strong achievement, a recommendation, a professional insight about yourself to personalize the letter, or a piece of information relevant to your job search such as relocation.
Conclude your letter by using a brief closing statement and depending upon the use of this letter your intention to follow up. For example:
Based on my track record of successful operational efficiency, I believe that I have the qualifications and accomplishments to make a positive impact on ABC Inc. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you and I will contact your office next week.
By following this cover letter success formula, you will have a well-crafted and persuasive cover letter. It will differentiate you from other job seekers. Once constructed it can serve as a customizable template for different job opportunities.