Is there one thing you can say in a cover letter that will guarantee it accomplishes its purpose? Absolutely!
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A cover letter serves as an introduction to your resume—and to yourself as a candidate for employment. It’s the place to show your interest in the position, and make a personal connection between who you are and why you’re a great fit for the opportunity. Showing your interest is important within the cover letter… However, saying this ONE thing is almost an ultimate guarantee you’ll get the interview.
ASK FOR IT.
You know that old saying, ‘Ask and you shall receive’? It’s true. It may sound like such common sense and obvious advice, but how many times have you sent a cover letter with your resume and not asked for the interview? It’s easy to do!
In the closing paragraph of your cover letter, all you need to do is ask the employer for the interview. I’ve read statistics that have indicated job seekers who ASK for the interview in their cover letters are twice as likely to GET the interview. Below, I’ll give you several examples that you can modify and use in your own cover letter.
I’m excited about the Director of Sales position with XYZ Widgets and would love the opportunity to meet in person to further discuss my experience and the value I can offer you as your next Director of Sales. Please call me at 555.555.5555 to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.
I would love a personal interview at your earliest convenience to further discuss my credentials with you. I can be reached at 555.555.5555 and will follow up as well to make sure you’ve received my information.
Thank you for your time reviewing my resume. I welcome the opportunity to discuss in a personal interview my qualifications and fit for the position. Feel free to reach me at 555.555.5555 at your earliest convenience.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I will follow up in one week to schedule a day and time we can meet to further discuss the position and my experience. You may also reach me at 555.555.5555 to schedule an interview.
(Please note: Ending #4 is a more direct approach.)
You can ask for the interview with any wording you’re comfortable with. The key thing to remember is to close your cover letter by asking for the interview. Want more info? For further reading, check out this article on 5 Things You Should Never Say in Your Cover Letter.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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About the author
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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Covering letters should be used to give the recruiter a reason to read your CV, show why you want the job and highlight your suitability for the role.
So, don't just summarise your career history, but include details not in your CV to personalise your application. Your letter should also link your CV to the specific requirements of the job or the organisation.
Researching a company helps you tie in your strengths, achievements and background. But even when faced with limited company details (as in the example from a recruitment company below) the job description itself can give you enough information to tailor your letter.
This advertisement is for a graduate role, so the experience requirements are not as stringent as for more senior positions. However, it's clear that the organisation want a specific type of person with the right attitude.
This small yet highly successful Chocolate Events Company has an exciting opening for a bright, conscientious and highly organised bookings coordinator.
Responsible for managing the bookings process for events from start to finish, your duties will include responding to enquiries, writing proposals, confirming details, liaising with venues and handling post-event follow ups. It is vital that you have a superb client service ethic and the ability to build relationships with a diverse range of individuals ... you must be process-driven, methodical and pay strong attention to detail ... As a key member of a close-knit and dedicated team, you must be hard-working, flexible and have a can-do attitude ... As this role requires you to compose tailored client proposals, it is expected that your covering email will reflect a high level of written communication ability.
This is a superb opportunity for a proactive and enthusiastic team player who is keen to apply their experience within a small company where your contribution will be valued. Salary: £18,000-£22,000.
Below, I have drafted two potential responses to this vacancy.
Covering letter 1
I am writing to apply for the role of booking coordinator (Ref G1150) and have attached a copy of my CV for your consideration.
As you can see from my CV, I have already had extensive experience in a bookings role, and I am now looking for an opportunity to build on this.
I am currently working in a customer-facing retail role, where I earn £16,000.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information.
The verdict: Personality is important in a people business such as events, but there's nothing here that would entice the recruiter to look at the CV. It sounds too formal, and the applicant gives no reason for wanting the job, or what makes them a strong candidate.
Adding personality traits such as "I'm an exceptionally organised individual with a keen eye for detail," would risk making her letter sound bland unless context or examples were included. This letter may be brief and accurate, but it's also weak and formulaic. The recruiter will probably receive many letters exactly like this, and the candidate has wasted a opportunity to stand out.
Covering letter 2
I was excited to see the opportunity for a bookings coordinator in a Chocolate Events company. (Ref G1150)
I am currently working in a customer-facing retail role, where I earn just under the quoted salary. I enjoy this role, but miss the satisfaction of rolling up my sleeves and seeing a project through from start to finish.
Along with three fellow French undergraduates, I organised a series of wine-tasting events on campus. Liaising between importers, retailers and the university, I managed the bookings for the sommelier evenings. One importer described me as "a safe pair of hands" and was impressed with my professionalism and meticulous attention to detail. I was particularly proud that the events I co-ordinated were described as a "must-attend" in the French department.
Please contact me via email or on 020 3333 2222 if you would like to arrange an interview.
Thank you for your consideration.
The verdict: In comparison, this candidate's personality and enthusiasm stand out. The applicant briefly refers to relevant experience, but also gives a bigger picture of their personality and what they are like to work with. For example, they include testimonials to illustrate strengths and achievements, and explain their motivation for applying.
The applicant has identified key requirements, and tailored the letter around these: a can-do, hard-working attitude, attention to detail and ability to work in a team. Customising the letter also demonstrates their potential for writing tailored client proposals — one of the job duties.
Plus, this candidate has also handled the salary question well. Recruiters often ask for this information to make sure the candidate is roughly in the right salary range. By not being specific, they may have a stronger negotiating position than if they had stated their exact salary. But this applicant has also deflected attention away from money, and focused instead on why they want the role, which comes across as genuinely enthusiastic.