This workshop redirects participants from the mindset that they are “job searching” to the perspective of “job campaigning”. The facilitator encourages job-seekers to look at themselves as the solution to an employer’s problem. In sales, the consumer wants to buy the product that will solve their problem. Job-campaigners are able to articulate their skills to potential employers and market themselves in a way that lets employers see that they know their company, understand their goals, and have the ability to help the company because it’s all about what the job-seeker can do for them.
Cover Letter Components and Format
- Your Name and Contact Information
- Date, Recipient’s Name and Address
- Opening Paragraph- your 60-second commercial, why are you writing? A few targeted sentences that let the company know you know what they do and why you are interested in the position. In order to talk about their company, you need to do your research to learn about them and to understand what they do. Make it all about them; say what you can do for them and make the company feel special.
- Second Paragraph- Skills Summary: why are you qualified for this position? Align your experiences with what the company does and match their requirements to show how you are a good fit. This paragraph tells the company that you have what they want and you are here to help them.
- Closing Paragraph- thank them for considering your resume, and “call to action”: let them know you will be calling to follow up.
In the subject line of your email, get to the point right away by letting them know why you are writing. Make your cover letter and resume easy to open by saving both documents separately as Microsoft Word 1997-2003 documents. Save each file clearly, such as “John Smith June 2012 Resume” and attach both files to your email as well as copying both documents into the body of your email for easy viewing.
Tips for Cover Letter Success:
- If the job posting asks for specific skills or you have an important detail to address be sure to include them in both your cover letter and resume
- Find the name of the person who will hire you and address the letter to them. Do not address your letter to a generic person, if you cannot find their name write “Dear Hiring Manager”
- Don’t tell them what you don’t have, tell them what you do have. (For example: instead of stating that you don’t have Microsoft Excel experience, talk about the computer skills that you do have. Do not point out the areas that you fall short because when you tell the interviewer what you can’t do, they may wonder what else you can’t do)
- Follow directions for how they have requested job-seekers to send their resumes.
- Connect the dots if you have limited work experience instead of leaving out critical information (Example: “As a recent graduate…” states the reason that you are likely to have less work experience so employers aren’t guessing)
- Use accomplishments and examples to demonstrate what you have done and how well you did it.
- Reflect the best of your personality in your cover letter.
- Less is more, be concise.
- Follow up with a handwritten, hard copy thank you note within 24 hours of your interview that shows appreciation for their time and consideration.
How Can I Learn More?
Come to the “Catchy Cover Letters” workshop at RochesterWorks! Aside from this overview, the facilitator provided cover letter and thank you note templates, actively involved participants in the presentation, and went into great detail about cover letter makeovers and additional tips to get noticed and get an interview. (For additional information visit the Workshop Calendar and Descriptions on the RochesterWorks! Website: www.rochesterworks.org