How to Make Your Resume Cover Letter Irresistible to Employers.

By Cate Andrea.

 

Cover letter and application letter are one and same thing. I always find it easier to write the Cover Letter once I am done with the resume for the simple reason that this enables me to first understand the client's strengths and limitations, as well as how to present a compelling case using the resume. I then use the Cover Letter to highlight these strengths. The idea is: the more the strengths are subtly repeated in the two documents, the more they stick in the recruitment manager's mind, and the easier will be for him to remember the candidature when shortlisting for the interview. 

 

My policy when writing a Cover Letter is to always keep it brief and to the point. In terms of length, it should not exceed a single page. And to make it more effective, the letter should meet the following three objectives:

 

  1. Express interest in the job for which you are applying
  2. Briefly show how your background and work experience qualify you for the job
  3. Ask for an interview

 Ideally, you would send a cover letter under these two circumstances:

 

  • When responding to a job advertisement. This is also referred to as solicited application.
  • When no job opening has been advertised, but you nonetheless want to introduce yourself to the potential employer. This is also referred to as unsolicited application.

In either case, the chief purpose in sending the application is to make the prospective employer interested in your skills and capabilities so that he may invite you for an interview.

 

The Cover letter of takes the usual format of an official letter. The letter should be addressed to either the hiring authority for the position that you are interested in, or to the company’s human resource manager. In addition, you should give the letter a more personal touch by including the recipient’s full name in the salutation, e.g., Dear Mr. Davis West. In case you are not sure of the recipient’s name or spelling, call the company and find out. Other details that should go into the letter include:

 

  • The purpose for which you are sending the letter or title of the job you are interested in. This is usually contained in the reference section that comes immediately after salutation.
  • A brief highlight of your skills and a direct invitation of the manager to read the attached resume. If your qualifications do not exactly match those specified by the employer, point this out in the letter and give evidence that you have the relevant experience to enable you handle the job.
  • Information suggesting when you could be available for an interview, as well as how you can be contacted before then if need be.

 In order to make the cover letter more appealing and effective, it should be neat in appearance, clear and polite in communication, and free of grammatical errors. 

Paragraphs and Contents

First Paragraph

 

The first paragraph of the cover letter should be designed to capture the manager’s attention and sustain his interest in reading further. Below are four simple but captivating techniques that you could use to grab the manager's attention:

1. By giving a brief summary of your specific qualifications that match the requirements for the job at hand. For example, you could start the letter by stating:

 

My Bachelor's degree in  Business Administration and four years professional experience as an Administrative Assistant with the US Embassy in Cuba qualify  me for  the  Personal Assistant’s position that you advertised in the Washington Post on Monday, 15th of August.

 

2. By beginning your letter with reference to the company’s latest developments, you come out as someone informed, interested in the company, and worth listening to. For example:

 

During a recent interview on NBC, Mr. Carter, your CEO, outlined your company’s strategy for seizing emerging business opportunities in Texas and New Jersey. Please consider my B. Com. Degree with majors in marketing, and my two years’ experience as a motor vehicle sales executive with Toyota California, as you look for the best team to send to your new branches in these markets.

 

3. If you are writing in response to an advert or if you have been asked to send your credentials by someone personally known to the human resource manager, you can immediately grab his attention by referring to any of these:

 

Example 1: writing in reference to an advert.

 

I am sending this application in response to your advert appearing in The Sun on Tuesday the 23rd of August, requiring Computer Networking Technicians.

 

Example 2:  sending your application under somebody’s instructions. Caution:  Use this approach only when certain that the person you are talking about is known to the employment manager and that the two are in good terms.

 

Mr. Andrew James of First Community Bank has asked me to send you my credentials for consideration for a Systems Administrator's job. He has informed me that you have such a position in your newly formed department of Information Technology, and that you could consider me for the position. My qualifications and experience match your requirements.

 

4. A fourth and more adventurous way of capturing the manager’s attention is by asking a thought provoking question. This method is especially recommended when sending unsolicited applications for it does a nice job at opening up communication.

 

Example 1

 

Does your theatre troupe require the services of a talented actress who can sing alto, play the bass guitar and act? Here I am.

 

Example 2

 

Does your school require the services of a Montessori trained ECD teacher with three years of working experience? I am that person. 

 

Second Paragraph

In the second paragraph, build the manager’s interest in your worth by first highlighting your qualifications and experience, and second, by inviting him to read the attached resume. This is also where you should market your strengths and express your eagerness to work for his organization.

 

Example 1: an ex-police officer wishing to join a private security firm

 

I have four years of professional experience as a Sargent in Brooklyn, and seven years serving in a similar position in Richmond County. I have a solid record of crime prevention and investigations, including thwarting six terrorist attacks targeted at foreign interests, 24 cases of recovery of stolen motor vehicles, as well as investigation of two homicide cases that secured successful conviction of the accused. It is such among other achievements detailed in the attached resume, that make me believe I am an asset worth your consideration. 

 

Example 2: a beautician

 

Over the last two years I have worked as a Celebrity Stylist at Linda’s Beauty Palour in Manhattan. I have particularly been responsible for making George Michael, Alicia Keys, and Andrew Keatings look fabulous on stage. I am also the preferred hair stylist for six lady corporate presidents, who have since become our clients at Linda's Palour. I have enclosed my resume, in which I have detailed more instances where my output has exceeded clients' expectations and in the process significantly impacted the business's bottomline. 

 

Third Paragraph

In the third or last paragraph, be specific and ask for an interview. After making this request, take control of the process and promise to call the manager in about a week’s time to fix a date for the interview at his or her convenience. Also, give your contacts just in case the manager wishes to call you before then.

Following up with a phone call to the manager eliminates the ‘waiting in the dark period’ that falls between the moments you send the mail and when you receive response. Below are some good ways of ending a cover letter.

 

Example 1: a student who is about to complete college

 

May I have an interview? I will call your office next week with a view to arranging a convenient date and time. In case you wish to contact me before then, you may call my mobile number: 0700 088344. After 12th of September, you can also reach me on my home number (668) 6986986.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Example 2: a general way of ending the letter

 

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how I can make a contribution to your company. I will call your office on the 10th of July so we can schedule an interview at your convenience. Should you wish to contact me before then, you may use the e-mail address above or call at (689) 696966.

 

Thank you for your consideration. 

 

Signing Off

This is where you put your closing remarks such as Yours Faithfully, Sincerely, Truly, etc., and then your name. If you are sending the application through the post office or hand delivery, remember to leave enough space for your signature between these words and your name. This section can be aligned either to the left, center or to the right hand side of the page.

 

If you are sending the letter accompanying a copy of your resume, indicate this by writing: “Enc. Résumé” below your name.

 

So, do you need further assistance with writing your cover letter? Our team of professionals at Arcade Resumes is ready, and at your service. Talk to us today for the best solution.