The Not-So-Effective Cover Letter
by Linda Matias of www.careerstrides.com
Here’s a newsflash: Cover
letters work, plain and simple. This is why I’m intrigued by the fact
that a) jobseekers rarely submit them and b) hiring managers seldom read
them. As a result, I started asking questions. Specifically, “What’s
your problem with cover letters?” Here’s what I found
Jobseekers claim all the
pertinent information is included in the resume. Translation: “I don’t
know how to write an effective cover letter so I just scrap it.” Hiring
managers say cover letters serve no purpose. Translation: “Jobseekers
don’t know how to write an effective cover letter so I’d just as soon
not be bothered.”
Top 3 Reasons Most Cover
Letters Don’t Work
one-size-fits-all method. Hiring managers are extremely jealous.
Although they are aware you are courting other companies, they want to
know that you at least care enough to hide it.
Solution: Avoid form
letters. Instead, customize each letter with the hiring organization and
the position in mind. Here’s an example.
“With over nine years of
HRIS and human resources experience, I have had the opportunity to
contribute strong, sustainable improvements within the HR functions,
particularly in areas of systems development, implementation, and
When I read the
job description posted on your corporate website, I was immediately
drawn to the similarity between your requirements and my experience. In
particular, I meet your prerequisite for an HRIS Specialist who has the
ability to train end users effectively in a variety of applications and
processes. From my enclosed resume, you will note that I approach
end-user training with a patient, diligent manner.”
2. I want, I need, I must
have. Me, me, me. That is the approach many candidates take when
writing their own cover letter. This self-centered approach, without a
doubt, backfires every time.
Solution: Focus the
letter on how you can benefit the hiring organization. Here’s an
are examples from two different employers that illustrate my ability to
integrate time- and cost-saving solutions for the HRIS infrastructure:
For XYZ, I implemented an
entirely new HRIS system that affected data and records for 25,000 team
members, expediting processes by converting our applications to Lawson
as the company grew at a breakneck pace.
For ABC, I eliminated a
slow-moving manual process and developed a system from the ground up
that processed commissions for 700 people, leading to a reduction of
three processing days per month.”
3. Taking a “pretty please”
approach. No one wants to hire a desperate jobseeker.
Solution: The tone of the
cover letter must be kept on a professional level. Here’s an example.
“In addition to technology and
problem-solving skills, what I also offer is the ability to create and
maintain data tables, structures, files, interface requirements, and
data integrity protocols for ongoing administration.”
Cover Letters Can Win Job
Persuasive, targeted, and
commercial-like cover letters fare well. And that is exactly what a
cover letter is—a commercial, starring your experience.
Certified in all three areas of the job
search—Certified Interview Coach ™ (CIC), Job & Career Transition Coach
(JCTC), and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)—Linda Matias is
qualified to assist you in your career transition, whether it be a
complete career makeover, interview preparation, or resume assistance.
She is also the author of "How to Say It: Job Interviews" (Prentice
Hall, August 2007). You can contact Linda Matias at linda @
careerstrides.com or visit her Website
www.careerstrides.com for additional career advice and to view
We offer a confidential consultation. Information gathered online or
in a one-on-one meeting will not be disclosed to any outside source.
learn more about our services:
- Email: evaluation @careerstrides.com
- Phone: (631) 382.2425
- Address: 34 East Main Street, #276 Smithtown, NY