Hiring managers routinely receive responses from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of applicants for any given job. To avoid having your resume sink in this sea of paper, it's imperative to write a cover letter that stands out from the crowd and makes a good first impression.
A compelling cover letter that follows five essential rules will convince a hiring manager to read an applicant's resume.
Rule #1 -- Appearance
The resume and cover letter must be aesthetically pleasing and consistent in appearance. This would include using the same heading and fonts in each, both produced on a high-quality printer and paper (if documents are being snail-mailed"). Save the designer stationery and stylish fonts for writing letters to friends. A professional employment package never sets a casual tone.
Target Your Audience
Remember, a cover letter addressed "Dear Sir or Madam" or
worse, "To Whom It May Concern," has the same impact as one addressed "Dear Occupant."
Always use the hiring manager's name in the salutation. If the contact's name isn't provided in the job posting, a bit of Internet research or a well-structured phone call can produce results. In using the contact's name, the cover letter is personalized, while also showing the applicant's interest in the company. Remember, a letter addressed "Dear Sir or Madam" or worse, "To Whom It May Concern," has the same impact as one addressed "Dear Occupant."
Rule #3 A Strong Opening
A dynamic opening paragraph is essential to capture and retain a hiring manager's interest. Pared down to basics, for a quick and effective read, it should include a reference to the position sought and a brief statement as to why the applicant feels qualified
to fill the job. Emphasis should always be placed on what the applicant can do for the targeted company, while also providing quantifiable proof as to why this is true.
bulleted area to emphasize accomplishments pertinent to the targeted
job. Not only does this break up large blocks of text that a hiring
manager might find daunting, but it also draws the eye towards
the most important part of the cover letter -- what the applicant
has to offer.
A Proactive Closing
further action at the end of a cover letter. A proactive closing
indicates that the applicant will call within a few days to see
if a time might be scheduled to meet. To wait for a hiring manager
to take that first step is to risk losing the opportunity to another
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