Presentation on theme: "T HE R EALITY OF C OVER L ETTERS : THE Y OU -F OCUS ! By: P.L. Agiarist, edited by MBKirova."— Presentation transcript:
T HE R EALITY OF C OVER L ETTERS : THE Y OU -F OCUS ! By: P.L. Agiarist, edited by MBKirova
FACTS In today’s crisis-times job market, HR professionals and hiring managers are being bombed with an increasing number of applications, resumes, and cover letters for each opening. In the USA, that can be literally thousands. A majority end up in the paper recycling bin. Why?
COMMON MISTAKES ABOUT COVER LETTERS: Most people assume that the cover letter is actually read before the resume. Wrong. HR people usually go past the cover letter directly to the resume and only look at the cover letter if they are still interested after their initial resume ’30 second scan’.
COMMON MISTAKES ABOUT COVER LETTERS: 2) People assume that the cover letter should be about you. Wrong again. It should be about: the company, your prospect, your target. Your resume has told them everything they need to know about you (if it is well written). If you are interested enough in the company to make the initial contact, demonstrate this interest by detailing how you may be able to meet the company’s needs in your cover letter.
COMMON MISTAKES ABOUT COVER LETTERS: 3) Many college students use the cover letter/resume mass mailing/ ing/posting as a crutch to convince themselves that they are actually looking for a job. In reality, all they are doing is generating rejection letters. Mass mailing/ ing/posting of your cover letter and resume has extremely low odds for success in today’s job market.
D OWN AND D IRTY Why OH WHY does AUBG stress good English? Here’s a real sample from a cover letter, posted at "I'm looking for work because even though my company was profitable last year, this year they are expecting a large defecate."
IT GETS WORSE Below is a recent posted example from a communications company Ragan (heavily edited by mbk). SUBJECT LINE: Question.. Hello, my name is ___________ and I am a senior undergraduate student at Well Recognized University in the Midwest, graduating with high honors in May with bachelor’s degrees in both Journalism/Mass Communication and Communication Studies. Although currently I reside and go to school in __________, I am originally from the Chicago area and am looking to start my career there in May.
E XCERPT 1 SUBJECT LINE: Question.. Hello, my name is ___________ and I am a senior undergraduate student at Well Recognized University in the Midwest, graduating with high honors in May with bachelor’s degrees in both Journalism/Mass Communication and XXX Studies. Although currently I reside in __________, I am originally from the Chicago area and am looking to start my career there in May. This is all about what YOU want. In this letter, you use the word “I” 35 times, “me” six times and “my” 11 times in 573 words. Since you’re applying to work here, the subject is also us, and the communication business we cover.
E XCERPT 2 I cannot express to you how excited I became as I came across the website for Regan. It is the kind of company that I have been looking for, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to obtain a full-time position at Regan. You were too excited, apparently, to check the spelling of the company’s five-letter name.
E XCERPT 3 I am a prominent undergraduate student in the communication studies department here, and from time to time even assist graduate students with brainstorming and analysis. A “prominent undergraduate,” eh? Your university has 30,000 undergraduate students, the only “prominent” ones of which play on the football team.
E XCERPT 4 I want to bring my passion, skill, and knowledge to Regan. I realize that you may not be the person that I should be speaking with, but I needed to contact someone. Have you considered therapy?
E XCERPT 5 When I do something, I give it everything that I have. When I am given a task, I get it done better than expected. The men at the radio station … always said to me jokingly…“you have the look to get the interview with men and women alike, the charm to keep the interview, the intelligence to ask the right questions, the passion to ask the hard ones, and the innocent smile that gets an honest answer out of anyone.” Gack! These “men” at the radio station were about two ticks away from sexual harassment, girlfriend. A worthy subject for discussion no doubt, but not in a cover letter, please. You are also boasting, and it’s ugly.
E XCERPT 6 My resume is attached. Thanks for hearing me out. I am honestly thrilled to have found this company and look forward to hearing from you soon. All of the careers listed on your website are of interest to me. However, I think that my writing style would be most applicable to speechwriting or public relations. Sincerely…. Excellent. Except we don’t do speechwriting or public relations.
R ECAP ! Seriously limit the use of I, me, mine (check your drafts and count them) Check your facts! Check your spelling! Never make an unsubstantiated claim like ‘prominent’. If you have something to boast about, prove it by example. Check your facts, again. If you aren’t willing to research what the company actually does, you are wasting everyone’s time.
W HAT TO D O Okay – so what can you do as a dedicated job seeker do to get the attention of an overworked, overwhelmed, and cranky hiring manager who is tired of reading the same old boilerplate and mistake-ridden *bleeep* from graduates? Stand out by simply by writing a one page letter that features seven simple steps
7 S TEPS 1. Three paragraphs and a single page: your introduction, your skills, qualifications and experience, and a request for an interview or meeting. 2. Three or four well written and structured sentences in each of these paragraphs. Breaking your letter down like this will make it much easier to read. 3. Use lots of white space in your Cover Letter. This is another simple trick to make it easier to read and understand. Be sure to include large margins and double space between each paragraph.
7 S TEPS 4. Use Bullet points and/or numbered lists whenever appropriate. This simple technique will help a busy manager scan your letter quickly and effectively. 5. Use Bold type to emphasize key points. This tip will draw attention to what you want the reader to see and know. 6. Use Spell check, proper grammar and the correct punctuation. Check and check again. Nothing will get you ****-canned faster than a sloppy cover letter with spelling errors and bad grammar. 7. Use the Name of the Reader and have accurate contact info. Do your research and find out who will be reading your cover letter. This is a big mistake that many job seekers ignore.
W HAT E LSE ? Sigh. True democracy, justice and equality are fine things. Alas, they are time consuming for employers. Thus, if you have pull, use it!
U SING P ULL If you’ve been personally referred, use that first (Through my mother’s friend, Jennifer Horton..) Use your contacts to ‘sniff around’ and find out what managerial changes are afoot. The best time to get into a job is when heads are rolling and new folks being appointed. Find out from contacts what’s really involved in the job you are looking for, and how the position might be changing. You can use this subtly to your best advantage.
S ELL Y OURSELF A large part of cover letters is having the opportunity to explain points on your resume that are relevant to what the employer is looking for. It is an opportunity for someone to give credit to their professed skills.
S ELL Y OURSELF : EX. L EADERSHIP Ex. Leadership "I have leadership ability" vs. "The experience I gained spearheading the Paperless Initiative at my school has exercised my leadership abilities and unfailing enthusiasm that your company is looking for in a candidate for X position."
S ELL Y OURSELF : C USTOMER R ELATIONS S KILLS Sometimes, creativity is essential Ex. Customer Relations "caring for my ailing goldfish has given me the sensitivity to help others in hard situations. This hyper awareness of feelings has made me a priceless asset in my former customer relations positions..."