Slowly, CarefullyÖ. Back Away from the Professional Cover Letter Sample
How the Professional Cover Letter Sample Can Derail Your Job Hunt
For the harried job seeker, a professional cover letter sample can offer some very valuable guidance to crafting jut the right cover letter. A professional cover letter sample can give a general guideline of the form of the typical cover letter, can give you some idea about what kind of information a cover letter should contain and other helpful info.
But a professional cover letter sample canít substitute for knowing what sorts off strategies it takes to write a really effective cover letter. A cover letter sample, as a matter of fact can actually hurt you more than it can help you if you use it as a source to simply copy down its contents and pass it off as a resume.
The reason is simple. The secret of an effective and attention getting cover letter is the specificity of the letter. To get the job, each letter should be tailored to the exact job and contain the information that proves that YOU and YOU ALONE are the best choice to fill that job.
Where the Cover Letter Sample Goes Wrong
A professional cover letter sample, no matter how well written canít offer that level of specificity. So it already lacks the number one weapon that a cover letter needs to employ on your behalf.
And if that professional cover letter sample is less than well written, then it does actual damage. If the letter is poorly constructed or boring or doesnít clearly make the points that a winning cover letter has to make, then it actually makes a negative statement about you.
Heck, even if the professional cover letter is well written and clear but the Hiring Manager has seen it over and over, that makes a statement too. Basically it says that you, as a writer, are too unoriginal and too bad a communicator to come up with your own cover letter.
Clearly, these are not the statements that prospective employees want to say to the prospective employers to clinch the interview. To avoid having these sorts of thoughts directed at your cover letter, the best bet is to set the professional cover letter sample aside for a few minutes and learn the basics of crafting an effective cover letter for yourself.
Letís Start With The Basics
The best way to do this is to stop and consider the basic principles of what a cover letter is supposed to do for you. In a word, the well-written and effective cover letter is one that sells.
Just like a super-salesman that you have sealed up into an envelope and sent over to the Hiring Manager, the interview getting cover letter takes the Hiring Manager from a state of not knowing (or caring) who you are, to believing that you are the best solution to his problem that he or she has ever seen. Then the cover letter tells and convinces the Hiring manager just exactly what he or she should do next: pick up the phone and call to set up an interview.
Thinking of the cover letter this way --- as a salesman going into the office gives you an idea about what the cover letter should say and do.
Obviously, if you had a super salesman walk out of an open envelop on a Hiring Managerís desk, the first thing you would want him to do is to get that Hiring Managerís attention on your behalf. Now, it is true that if a tiny salesman walked out of an envelope, he would have no problem getting the Hiring Managerís attention. In fact, if that were to happen, the salesmanís first job would be to prevent the Hiring Manager from running out of the room and screaming that he or she was suffering from hallucinations!
But letís say that the Hiring Manger calmly accepted the sight of a miniature person strolling out of his or her inbox. What the salesman would want to do at that point would be to say, in effect, "You know how you are looking for a top-notch professional that can solve your biggest business headache? Iíve got that professional for you."
Put Your Salesman to Work for You!
Once the salesman conveyed that message, there would be no doubt that the Hiring Manager would be all earsÖ. Ready and eager to hear how his or her problem would be solved. So thatís the way that your professional cover letter needs to start. With a bold and clear statement that you are the solution to their problem and you are available immediately.
Once the attention of the Hiring Manager was secured, the super salesmanís next step would be to reward that attention by showing that he wasnít just blowing smoke. The salesman needs to establish that he knows what the Hiring Managerís biggest problem is. That he knows exactly which challenge the Hiring Manager is hoping to solve with the hire of the new employee. That the salesman knows what the Hiring Manager is looking for. That shows the Hiring Manager that the salesman understands his problem and establishes a feeling of trust that the Hiring Manager can believe the solution that the salesman offers.
That is, of course what the salesman does next. He puts you forward as the solution to this problem.
Telling Isnít Enough
Whatís more he proves it. The way he proves it is to use all the attributes that you offer as an employee. Your attitude, your education, your certificationÖ itís all fair game to throw at the Hiring Manager. More importantly though, and more convincingly to the Hiring Manager is your experience. By highlighting your job experience, and most specifically, the EXPERIENCE SOLVING THE MAIN PROBLEM that the Hiring Manager faces the super salesman convinced the Hiring Manager to consider you for the position.
In a similar manner, your professional cover letter needs to undertake these same steps. In a paragraph or two, you need to show that you understand the problem that the business is facing and that you have solved this problem before many times in your job history. If you donít know exactly what the problem is, you may need to do some research talking to people in the field, online or with friends and family who may have some insight for you.
Once the super salesman has demonstrated that you are the proven and experienced solution, he will speak to the Hiring Manager about what a great addition you are to the workplace because of your enthusiasm for the job and your dedication to meeting the challenges of the work that you do. After all, showing up and doing the work is only a small part of being a valuable employee. Loving what you do, being enthusiastic, encouraging others to do the same and working with other people as a well-functioning team is also very much needed in any workplace. Consequently, itís one of the things that the Hiring Manager is going to use evaluate any potential hire.
I Love This Job, Really!
Thatís why every cover letter should have what I call a "passion paragraph" where you speak briefly and matter-of-factly about what you enjoy about the position and the enthusiasm that you will bring to the job with you each day.
Next, the super-salesman closes the deal. He knows that the Hiring Manager is never as likely to call you up for an interview as he or she is right now, right after reading about what a smart, experienced, problem-solving, enthusiastic worker you are.
If the Hiring Manager sets the resume down and moves on to the next he or she may lose it in the pile of papers on his desk or get distracted with someone else or another task. So the supersalesman works hard to motivate him to pick up the phone immediately.
Likewise, your professional cover letter will need to do the same thing. Donít expect for the Hiring Manager to know automatically that he or she is expected to pick up the phone and give you a call. Ask him or her to do it right then.
"I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm about this position with you in person soon. Please give me a call so that we can set up an interview is a common and effective way to make the request."
Before You Lick That EnvelopeÖ
Now sign off and get away from the compute for a little while. After working so hard on this cover letter you arenít able to evaluate it for a coupe of hours at least.
When you come back, print it up and give it a quick read through, out loud. Do you notice any parts that sound awkward or unclear? This is the last chance you have to fix them and make them sound more natural and plain-spoken. Naturally, youíre going to want to pay special attention to the grammar and spelling as well at this stage. All it takes is a single typo to ruin the professional and competent image that youíve worked so hard to create.
Now, print it up on white or ivory paper and mail it with a matching resume. Or cut and paste it into the body of the email and send it off. Though it isnít going to make quite the impression that a tiny salesman coming out of the envelope would, itís still going to serve you a lot better than if you had copied one of those professional cover letter samples that you were thinking about using earlier.
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