Writing a Persuasive Cover Letter
TEN HOT TIPS FOR WRITING A PERSUASIVE COVER LETTER THAT GETS EMPLOYERS ATTENTION!
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: The cover letter is your opportunity to go beyond the resume and its focus on the past and other employers and talk about what the reader cares most about —it’s about them.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Cover Letter communicates how you will help the Employer solve problems and pinpoint opportunities you can help them take advantage of.
SELLING IS KEY: It is a sales letter, and all good sales letters are written with the reader’s interests foremost in mindCUSTOMIZE IS KING: You’ll probably be able to use certain parts of your letter over and over, particularly when you’re approaching very similar businesses, but you want to customize whenever you can.
IMAGINE YOUR WORK: Customizing requires thinking about the company, their customers, and the work you see yourself doing. It means imagining yourself in the>position and the situations you’d be facing, and figuring out the abilities and traits you>possess that are important for success.
LOOK FOR THE X FACTOR: There are two types of skills: core skills that any serious applicant will be expected to have, and a much broader range of skills that would be useful to the employer but go beyond the basic requirements. You have to spend some time thinking about both types. Having the first kind gets you in the game; the second will make you stand out from the competition.
ADDED-VALUE PROPOSITION: Content of letter should be as close as you can get to business proposal writing — it’s not a plea for an interview. What do you offer that’s of value? What objectives can you help them achieve? Try to focus on their needs –what they want to buy rather than what you’d like to sell. However, the tone of the letter should be written in a friendly, conversational tone, and avoid stiff business like “enclosed please find my resume for your perusal” or “I am sending my resume in regards to the above mentioned position.”
AUTHENTICITY: Be a real person, not a robot churning it out in rotation (assembly line approach is obvious and boring). Show some personality and enthusiasm.
DEMONSTRATING EXPERTISE: Confetti claims: The writer of many a cover letter usually claims to be “competent,” “reliable,” “committed,” and “outstanding” — all in one paragraph! Another sentence/paragraph she’s “motivated and dedicated.” If you are using the words “Effectively” and “efficiently” in describing yourself, then how? What was so efficient or effective about what you did? How do you know? If you can answer those questions, then put that down instead.
Write the SMART Way: Be Specific (what did you do), indicate measurable results (what was the outcome), action-based (what action did you take), results-based (results from your own actions), time-based (within 6 months, within 1 year, specify timelines). Use real numbers, use real-life examples to demonstrate your skills.>
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