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Is Your Cover Letter Ready for a Job Search in 2016?

April 27th, 2016

June 3

Your resume and cover letter are equally important but completely opposite kinds of documents. Your resume is basically an outline of your skills and experiences. It gives hiring managers an easy way to scan your credentials. Your cover letter is where you make the case for why you’re fit for the job and better than any other candidate. It frames your credentials in the most relevant and enticing way possible. That’s why it’s so important to craft and revise the document carefully. Watch out for these common mistakes:

  • Bad Writing. Your cover letter must be impeccable. Typos, grammar mistakes, and awkward phrasing all make you look unprofessional. If you don’t consider yourself a strong writer, have a friend or family member help you edit.
  • Too Long. The goal is to make the biggest impression in the least amount of time. You cover letter should not be longer than one page, and should ideally be only three paragraphs. Make sure every sentence communicates something important.
  • Too General. It’s never a good idea to rely on a stock cover letter. Start each one from scratch, and be sure that the language and details you include relate directly to the company and available job. Show them your the best fit for this
  • Being Humble. Your cover letter is not a place to qualify your credentials, downplay your accomplishments, or be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknessses. In the short window of time you have, make yourself look as good as possible, just make sure you don’t lie.
  • Being Arrogant. The opposite is just as big a problem. If you were a totally perfect, one-of-a-kind professional, you would either have a job or have recruiters beating down your door. Don’t make it sound like you deserve a job without being fully vetted.
  • Over Explaining. You may be tempted to describe why you quit or were laid off from your past job. In most cases, this information is irrelevant and will only hurt your case. Focus on the positives and focus on the future.
  • Bad Formatting. Something that looks great on a printed piece of paper may not look great in an email, inside a form, or posted on a social network. Make sure that you format your cover letter so that it makes an equal impact across platforms.
  • Stopping Short. Most cover letters end with a pledge to follow up with the employer. End yours the right way, and then actually follow up. This helps demonstrate your interest in the position and keeps your name fresh in the hiring manager’s mind.

A great cover letter is important, but remember that it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to have a polished resume, and turn in a great interview performance. Find resources to help you through every step in the process by working with The Concorde Group, a top staffing agency in Westchester.

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How to Write a Solid Cover Letter

March 26th, 2015

If you are struggling to write a great cover letter, you are like most job seekers. These documents are notoriously hard to craft, and if you don’t consider written communications to be your strong suit, they can seem like a big obstacle to getting the job you want. The good news is that all writers and all job seekers can craft a cover letter that sounds great and commands attention if they focus on some basic strategies:

Don’t Summarize Your Resume

This is a common mistake. Instead of just rehashing your education and experience, use the cover letter to show off some of your personality, to mention your passions, and to state explicitly why you are a valuable candidate.

Write With the Company in Mind

You should never send out a generic cover letter. Instead, start fresh with each one, and tailor it to the position you are applying for and the company you are applying with. Sprinkling in company-specific details helps demonstrates your enthusiasm and highlights your level of preparation.

Always Be Concise

The general rule of thumb is that your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than three paragraphs and half a page. Exceptions can be made in certain instances, but you should make it as brief as possible, strip out all redundancies and repetitions, and focus on making every sentence valuable.

Nix the Greeting

Lots of times you don’t have an individual’s name or even a title to address your cover letter to. Instead of falling back on a generic greeting like “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madame,” leave the greeting off entirely and just jump straight into your introduction.

Use PDF Format

You will probably be submitting your cover letter electronically. Don’t risk sending it in a format that the recipient’s computer can’t access. The most reliable cross-platform format to use is PDF.

Start Strong

A recruiter might not read your whole letter, but they will probably read at least the first few lines. Don’t waste this space on a bland, casual, or unfocused introduction. Make a statement right off the bat that will grab their attention and make them want to keep reading.

Close Strong

If the recruiter has made it all the way to the end of your letter, you’ve done something right. Make sure that the last idea you leave in their head is a strong one. Be bold, and, as always, say it as quickly and clearly as you can.

Now that you know how to write great cover letters you need to find eager employers to send them out to. Kickstart your search for Westchester County jobs by partnering with The Concorde Group.

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