When you’re job hunting, the ongoing task of sending out resume after resume, accompanied by cover letter upon cover letter, can be daunting and feel downright insurmountable at times. It’s tempting to just “go form letter” and make about three zillion copies of everything, staple and mail them. Check, done and hand me the TV remote, please!
But you know this isn’t the way to go, right?
If you stand any chance at all of getting an interview, you want your cover letter and resume to make an impact among the hundreds that may be received by a hiring manager or recruiter. And you must, must, must– without exception – target them to the company and position for which you are applying.
Your Cover Letter
Use your cover letter to pinpoint why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. This document should be position specific, concise, and customized to your desired employer.
- Start with the job posting. List all the criteria the employer is seeking. Then, list your own skills, qualifications and experience. Match them up – and include these details in your cover letter. If you don’t have a posting or job description, research the company and find out how they could benefit from the unique value that you can offer.
- Specifically address the job and why you’re right for it. If your list doesn’t come close to matching the position criteria, think twice about pursuing this particular opportunity.
- Address your cover letter to an actual person. If necessary, call the company HR department and find out to whom it should be sent. Stay away from the “to whom it may concern” lead.
- Use the company name and job title. Address specific organizational needs. But in doing so, keep your cover letter concise. Three or four paragraphs is a good rule of thumb.
Submitting the same resume for every position can’t possibly meet each employer’s individual needs. To grab their attention, give them what they want by tailoring your resume to them.
- Remember, your resume will likely be reviewed by software as well as humans. Increasingly, companies utilize applicant tracking systems to narrow their fields of job candidates. Include in a prominent position in your resume the same keywords found in the job description. This will increase the chance of it matching available positions.
- Prioritize content. List your most relevant and important experience first, with key accomplishments listed at the top of each position.
It takes more time and effort to prepare customized cover letters and resumes, but it’s worth the effort. Without taking this key strategic step, you can pretty much count on your materials landing in the circular file or the electronic trash bin.
Partner with a professional recruiter from PrideStaff Modesto as you plan and implement your job search strategy. Read our related posts or contact our team of experienced recruiters today to learn more.