Cover Letter Help: Why Are You Writing?

Each week, we dedicate one blog entry to résumé writing. We examine a résumé submitted by a reader and provide tips for improvement.  Today, we received a résumé and cover letter from a reader.  The résumé was good.  However, the cover letter definitely was an interview-blocker.  Below you can see the horrendous letter.  The biggest issue is that the letter is not personalized and does not even hint at the candidate’s target position or precise reason for contacting this company.  It may cause the reader to ask, “Why are you writing?”

 

Let’s identify the problems. 

1.)    Never start your letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”   Make a whole-hearted effort to obtain the name of the HR Manager.  If this is a blind posting and it is impossible to get a name, write, “Dear Human Resources Manager.” Or, you can try “Dear Hiring Manager.” 

2.)    No need to state the obvious.  Of course, you are writing to introduce yourself and inform the reader of interest in the company. Instead talk about what you offer to the company.  

3.)    No need to explain what a résumé is.  In other words, skip the entire line about the résumé including information about your work history, training, education, technical skills, and affiliations. 

4.)    Too much language that communicates nothing substantial. Skip the fluff.  Instead point to some real examples of accomplishments.  Or, at least show some solid skills and expertise that match the job requirements. 

5.)    It is not enough to hope.  The problem with ending your letter with, “I hope to hear from you soon so we can schedule an appointment” is that it is a very weak call to action.  A stronger way to close the letter is to state that you intend to follow up in a week to discuss the possibility of scheduling an interview.  

This note barely qualifies as a letter. This is just a paragraph with no identifying information. It could be sent to everybody and nobody.  It does not specify a company, job title, department, industry, occupation, or any hint at why the person is writing.  It is not structured in the right way and is not even set up as a letter. When a reader opens this letter and has no clue as to why this person is writing and what he offers the company, the reader will likely move on to another candidate. The winning candidate will pitch a compelling case why they are the ideal candidate for a specific role.  Make an effort to craft a letter that presents your candidacy for a particular position, department, or field of work.

Many job seekers find cover letter writing much more difficult than résumé writing.  If you are struggling with your cover letter, contact me.  I can help you create a letter that clearly articulates why you are the ultimate candidate.  In the meantime, check out these blogs on similar topics:

Captivating Cover Letters the Easy Way

Why Many HR Managers Read Cover Letters

The Perfect Ending

 

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Cover Letter Help: Why Are You Writing?

Each week, we dedicate one blog entry to résumé writing. We examine a résumé submitted by a reader and provide tips for improvement.  Today, we received a résumé and cover letter from a reader.  The résumé was good.  However, the cover letter definitely was an interview-blocker.  Below you can see the horrendous letter.  The biggest issue is that the letter is not personalized and does not even hint at the candidate’s target position or precise reason for contacting this company.  It may cause the reader to ask, “Why are you writing?”

 

Let’s identify the problems. 

1.)    Never start your letter with “To Whom It May Concern.”   Make a whole-hearted effort to obtain the name of the HR Manager.  If this is a blind posting and it is impossible to get a name, write, “Dear Human Resources Manager.” Or, you can try “Dear Hiring Manager.” 

2.)    No need to state the obvious.  Of course, you are writing to introduce yourself and inform the reader of interest in the company. Instead talk about what you offer to the company.  

3.)    No need to explain what a résumé is.  In other words, skip the entire line about the résumé including information about your work history, training, education, technical skills, and affiliations. 

4.)    Too much language that communicates nothing substantial. Skip the fluff.  Instead point to some real examples of accomplishments.  Or, at least show some solid skills and expertise that match the job requirements. 

5.)    It is not enough to hope.  The problem with ending your letter with, “I hope to hear from you soon so we can schedule an appointment” is that it is a very weak call to action.  A stronger way to close the letter is to state that you intend to follow up in a week to discuss the possibility of scheduling an interview.  

This note barely qualifies as a letter. This is just a paragraph with no identifying information. It could be sent to everybody and nobody.  It does not specify a company, job title, department, industry, occupation, or any hint at why the person is writing.  It is not structured in the right way and is not even set up as a letter. When a reader opens this letter and has no clue as to why this person is writing and what he offers the company, the reader will likely move on to another candidate. The winning candidate will pitch a compelling case why they are the ideal candidate for a specific role.  Make an effort to craft a letter that presents your candidacy for a particular position, department, or field of work.

Many job seekers find cover letter writing much more difficult than résumé writing.  If you are struggling with your cover letter, contact me.  I can help you create a letter that clearly articulates why you are the ultimate candidate.  In the meantime, check out these blogs on similar topics:

Captivating Cover Letters the Easy Way

Why Many HR Managers Read Cover Letters

The Perfect Ending

 

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