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Just as there are key elements to writing a good story, there are key elements to writing an effective cover letter. When one is applying for a job, the process can become tedious. Finding a free cover letter online, or by using a cover letter template provided in word processing software, makes the process seem easier and is less time consuming. However, this method is a sure way of not landing an interview or getting offer a job position. By following a few simple steps, one can become more adept at cover letter writing and soon the process will be as easy, and more fun, than downloading a cover letter ever was.
The first thing to incorporate into a cover letter is research. One needs to find out whom is actually doing the hiring. Using a specific name address when writing a cover letter makes it much more personable and creates a connection with the person reading it. Next, one needs to research information about the company which they are applying for. This research can be used to help pinpoint out a candidateís skills would best assist the company. By doing research into what the company needs, a person can write a cover letter which highlights their skills and really sell themselves on being perfect for the job. If one does fiftieth minutes of research, it could save hours, days, weeks, or months of job hunting in the future!
The second point to creating a successful cover letter is to be focused, clear, and concise. A hiring manager has dozens, if not hundreds, of cover letters to go through for each available position. One wants to grab their attention, but they donít have a lot of time to invest reading oneís life story. Stick to the details and be as clear as possible. Doing so also demonstrates good communication skills, which is a positive attribute in any career. One wants to be able to share themselves with the employer, but do it in a way that leaves them wanting more. Just like a good book. Which also ties into the first sentence. Every good story needs a first sentence that grabs the reader and holds on until the end. Without that first sentence, then the reader is not going to hang in there for more than a line of two. A cover letter needs the exact same thing. In order to shake the hiring manager out of the comatose of applicant hunting, make sure that first sentence really shine.
The word choice one uses in their cover letter says a lot about them too. It is critical to ensure that each word written into a cover letter makes the kind of statement one wants to make. The words of oneís cover letter is the first impression with the potential employer, and thus it has to paint the picture that one wants. Not only does a cover letter have to expand on all the skills the hiring manager is looking for, without being too wordy, a cover letter also has to contain pizzaz and enthusiasm. The word choice is what is going to make or break a cover letter so be sure to go over it with a fine tooth comb. Send the cover letter to relatives, friends, acquaintances; anyone who can help to edit and make it really stand out.
The last two tips for a job-winning cover letter are not well known. In fact, one of them has been recommended against since the work place was invented. The recommendation is simple, ask for an interview. Donít just passive-aggressively hint around to it. Actually request to be invited in to interview and state that one is looking forward to the event. Being confident, and motivated, are things that employers look favorably upon and there is no better way to demonstrate those qualities than to include them in the cover letter.
Finally, be sure to follow up on any job lead. That may require a phone call to the hiring manager, a thank you fax, e-mail, or card, or even a follow up cover letter! There are some companies which specifically request not to be contacted outside of submitting a resume and cover letter, and if that is the case then donít push oneís luck, however for any other position itís always a good idea to follow up.
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