My junior year of high school, I drove a tank car that I tried to hide in the parking lot. It had a sticker on the back of the Boynton bears saying, "My other car is a Rolls." It belonged to my parents, and was almost as old as I was. It was the medium-size model of a Chevrolet station wagon, but it occupied a city block more than a full lane when I drove down the street. The car was an eyesore, and refused to be hidden. People noticed it.
I thought of this car today when I started to write this blog post, because "My other blog has a cleaner layout." As soon as I have the spare time, this site will receive a face lift. But for now, I am sticking to content so I am going to provide you with a shorter sexier version of my thoughts on cover letters.
I'm going to borrow a writing style I've adapted from Twitter, and teach you how to write a cover letter in seven six tweets (messages of 140 characters or less). This is my gift to you because writing a cover letter is like going to the dentist no one likes to write cover letters.
(T1) Objective: Write cover letter with the employer in mind, focus on their needs--not yours. Answer four questions, they want to know:
- (T2) Where did you find my listing? Do you know anyone here? Recruiters care about hiring and marketing. Let them know how you found them.
- (T3) What position are you applying for? How do your skills and experience align with the position?
- (T4) Why this opportunity? Why do you want to work here--and in this job? Share knowledge. Show that you've done homework.
- (T5) How can I follow-up with you?
(T6) These are the essentials. Your letter should be clear, concise and address each topic. Suggested format: write a paragraph on each point.
Practice writing a letter in this format a few times, and you'll find that you have a cover letter that almost writes itself. Have
a hard time with addressing the line up between skills and a job? Get
help from someone else--a career counselor, a hiring manager, or
someone who enjoys the process...You can even contact me.
After you've done this a few times, you should have the format down.
I hope you find this approach to be useful, I had so much fun writing it that I'm not going to worry about my blog design for a while. I'm too busy trying to untag pictures of the tank from my Facebook profile...
To Your Success,