For some reason, the purpose of the ‘Cover Letter’ seems to be a topic of controversy and one sees several opinions when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of your Cover Letter. Since I operate from a ‘sales & marketing’ mindset–and the fact of the matter is we are ‘selling’ is YOU, I treat the Cover Letter as a document which has less than 60 seconds to grasp the reader’s attention. If the reader likes what you have to say–they will keep going–read your Introductory Bio and finally, review your Resume. So, the key to the Cover Letter is to peak their interest, show that you belong and tell them, what they don’t know! Here is how to do, just that…..
1) Cover Letter should be relevant, be passionate and be about belonging. I recommend 3 short paragraphs. Include as many of these points as possible, as long as you are truthful and sincere.
2) Paragraph #1–Where you have previously met them.
3) Paragraph #1–What do you admire about them. (Base this on hearing them speak, hearing them present, reading articles about them, i.e. RESEARCHING them!)
4) Paragraph #2–Whom do you know in common–include those inside and outside of their company. (Think about former work Colleagues, College Alumni, those you Served with on a Non-Profit Board)
5) Paragraph #2–Who recommended that you reach out–in other words, who referred/suggested that you are a great fit with the company?
6) Paragraph #3–What do you admire about the company culture. Connect yourself to the values which are important to the company and to you! This is how you show that ‘you belong,’ by being passionate about the same things and that you are cut from a similar cloth.
7) To increase the odds of your Cover Letter being opened AND being read….send it through the U.S. Postal Service…..as a PACKAGE!
8) Include a small gift (i.e. Coffee Mug, Mouse Pad, Inspirational Sign) so that you are sending a PACKAGE. (Trust me, a package will be opened right away–a flat envelope may or may not!) The small gift should connect with something they said, they believe, or state within their vision/mission statements.
9) Once the package is opened–you have done it–you have achieved the first mission–getting their attention!
10) Now, the responsibility falls back on YOU to FOLLOW-UP and build a relationship. Why? Because you want to move forward to the next step–a real CONVERSATION between real people!
Be sure to stay tuned next week for ‘Intentional & Powerful Networking’