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How Business Cover Letter Samples Can Help (or Hurt) You
For the job searcher looking at ways to write the perfect cover letter, a business cover letter sample can be a good place to start. These samples, easily found on the internet and in various job hunting and cover letter and resume writing books can give the job-seeker some good ideas.
These letters can show them how the business cover letter sample writers have handled the task of writing a cover letter. Each cover letter, whether it is for an admin assistant position or the executive spot all have the same aim and must accomplish the same sort of tasks. So looking at a business cover letter sample or two is a good way for the cover letter writer to see some alternative ways of handling those tasks.
If this inspires the job seeker to use similar techniques in his or her cover letter, thatís great. The job seeker goes into the letter writing process with extra confidence and a clear idea of how to get from A to B to C in the cover letter. It is important, though, that the job seeker uses the business cover letter sample as a guide or template and not as a source for copying that same business cover letter and trying to send it off to a potential employer.
Because as good as business cover letter samples can be as guides, their contents usually contain some fatal flaws if the business cover letter sample is merely copied with a couple of words and names changed in it.
When Good Cover Letter Samples Go Bad
Hereís why. In the first place, and this is the most basic concept imaginable, if the business cover letter sample is merely copied the result is not an original cover letter and that is bad. Because the copied letter is not original, it doesnít speak to you as an individual and a person with your own unique qualifications and job history. As a result, you will be selling yourself short to use some sort of generic business cover letter sample to do your speaking for you.
Hereís a side note on the originality angle. If you have copied the business cover letter sample and sent it in as your own, then you can be sure that countless other people have done the same thing. Sending a copied and unoriginal piece of communication sends a message to the Hiring Manager that you are either lazy or unoriginal or canít communicate your own thoughts effectively or maybe a combination of these three factors. I am not aware of many jobs where this is considered an effective selling message to send about the candidate.
As a result of these factors, the copied business cover letter sample letter probably wonít even get read. When that letter reaches the Hiring Manager and he or she starts to read it and sees the same old spiel that theyíve read a thousand times already they are going to put down that paper so fast that it wonít even be funny. When they put that piece of paper down, youíve just lost your chance to make your case to that Hiring Manager for why you are the best person for the job. Thatís a high price to pay for the convenience of copying a business cover letter sample instead of creating your own original one, isnít it?
So Whatís the Solution?
So whatís the alternative? Thatís easy. The alternative is to craft, using what resources you need, your own cover letter that will make the business cover letter sample you considered copying look pathetic by comparison. Donít know how to go about that? Donít worry, itís easy.
First things first, before you even sit down to write your cover letter you need to do some basic research. Find out all you can about the company, the job and the person who will be making the decision about whether or not you get the job.
Friends, family, the internet, and trade publications are all great sources to start your research. These sources can tell you what sorts of challenges and problems the company is facing, the business environment they function in, and what they are doing to compete in that environment. Knowing these things will give you a "big picture" overview of the company, and this will give you a better idea about what aspects of your qualification and experience will be most appreciated by the Hiring Manager.
The More You Know, the Better
But the big picture is just the start. You also want to get a detailed and complete idea about the job and the department where you will be working. What are the duties? Who will you report to? What sort of challenges does that department face? How are they meeting those challenges?
Once again, the more you know about the position and the work environment the better you can craft your letter to match the requirements that the employer is looking for.
If nothing else, do enough research to get an accurate and correct spelling of the hiring Managerís name to put on the letterhead. Starting a letter off with a misspelled or incorrect name, or even worse a generic "To Whom It May Concern" gets you off to a bad start with the Hiring Manager that you may not be able to recover from.
Now You Are Ready to Write
When you get this information together, you are ready for the actual business cover letter writing to begin. Every successful action or enterprise begins with a clear purpose and the letter that you will write is no exception. For the business cover letter, the purpose is simple: Prove that you are the best solution to the business problem the company faces.
Think about it. The company isnít hiring you to fill space, or to help them drink up all the water in the water cooler, or even to "do a job." They are hiring you because they have a problem --- a need --- and they require a person to solve that problem for them. Thanks to the research that you have done, you should be able to guess what that problem is. Spend a few minutes and think of what you can do, and what you have done for other employers to solve that or a similar problem.
Once you have that firmly in mind, the rest of the process is simple, nearly automatic. First, you are going to need to convey the essence of what you offer the company early and in a manner that will grab their attention because they know that their attention will be rewarded.
Second you need to make the case that you know what their problem is and that you can solve it. The best and most simple way to do this is to establish through examples that you have solved that problem before, preferably many times, in your working history.
Third, you need to show that you love solving that problem. An enthusiastic person that loves their job adds a lot of value to an office. That is the sort of person that not only des a better job in the long run, but even inspires other employees to do a better job. So after the portion of the letter where you establish your problem solving experience, you should include what I call a "passion paragraph."
Now, Go For The GustoÖ Or, At Least the Interview
Fourth, you need to ask for the interview. Donít assume that the Hiring Manager knows what to do or where to find your contact information. Even though he or she probably knows, thereís no time that they are more likely to make the call than right after reading your business cover letter. So what you need to do is act on this moment, when they have just read about you and are excited about what you can do for the company. Something along the lines of "I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm with you in person. Please call me at 888-998-9808 to set up an interview.
When you have finished writing this, sign off and get away from your computer for a couple of hours.
When you come back, print up the cover letter and read it out loud. This is a great way to catch typos, misspellings, awkward phrases and places where the letter sounds unnatural. Feel free to make as many changes as you need to in order to get it right, but donít be too perfectionistic. The letter should sound clear and natural and direct. Fancy words or sophisticated phraseology hurt it more than they help it.
After you do these things, your letter is ready to go. Print it up on good ivory or white paper and send it in an envelope. Or, if you are going to go the email route, attach a resume and send it that way. Oh yeah, one more thing before you send it. Take a look at the business cover letter sample that you were considering using.
Compare it to the original, clear, focused, problem-solving cover letter you just wrote. Arenít you glad you didnít use the business cover letter sample? I thought so.
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