Cover Letter Preparation
You need a practical cover letter that summarizes your accomplishments and highlights vital elements in your background, as well as convincing the reader to want to review your resume. A good cover letter should be customized for your job search and include an interchangeable template so you can cater each cover letter towards the exact position (even requisition ID number) for any specific employer, right down to how you can provide a solution to that particular company’s specific needs, thus making your knowledge appear superior to your competitor.
What are you seeking in this position? Tell them your objective. For example: "I am a 20-year banking expert seeking a financial advisory position with a progressive, leading company in Cleveland, OH". Even better, use the company’s name.
When preparing a cover letter, a good thing to remember is that it needs to be attention-worthy. Do not say “Dear Hiring Manager,” but rather find out the person who is making the hire and personalize it (target the letter) for them. Do not just state that you need a job in marketing, but rather why you want a job in marketing at this particular company.
A client of mine used LinkedIn to locate a specific hiring manager at a company that had posted a position she was highly interested in. She then utilized my Google search methodology (see “How I Contact Hiring Managers to Find a Job”) to find the hiring manager’s email and sent him a customized cover letter. The hiring manager told her that he immediately picked up the phone to contact her even before looking at her resume because of her cover letter.
Follow-up Letter Preparation
Post-interview can be the most crucial time for a job seeker. While you are still fresh in the hiring manager’s mind, you need to act…and quick! You need an effective follow-up letter that:
- Shows the employer your relevant interest in the job
- Shows your appreciation of the correspondence and interview they provided
- Reiterates your skills and any important information you might have not provided while interviewing
- Reminds them about some key highlights that occurred during the interview
- Updates them with important information they might have requested
- Tells why you can be the solution to their human capital needs
When I recruited for a hiring manager at an Aerospace company, he explained to me that if he does not receive a follow-up letter, he would not even consider a candidate. Now that is a bit extreme, but the point is that you never know the type of person that is hiring candidates, so you must accommodate everyone in every way that is in your control. So if a follow-up letter is something extra you can do to exceed expectations, why not do it?
In conclusion, I think a cover letter and follow-up letter are just as important as a resume. All of these documents belong in your job search “toolkit” and must be precise and just as good as your resume. I have had clients in the past that did not put the time and effort into their collateral and wondered why they would not garner an interview. It’s simple: provide the potential employers with everything possible that showcases your abilities and motivation to be better than the competition, because your competition is making sure they have all the right tools in their toolbox.