Writing Targeted Cover Letters

How about some relevant tips for cover letter writing?  I recently wrote about including quotes from a job description right into my cover letter, as well as bulleting out my skills to make them stand out a little more.  I then got some comments from you readers about referring to something you may have learned about while researching the company, perhaps something the CEO said.  You could open with the quote and then say how that kind of leadership is exactly what you are looking for out of a company or that you share a similar vision.

So, on that note, while I was cruising through LinkedIn I noticed you can get cover letter advice prior to drafting up a cover letter.  I’m sure I noticed that link before and just chose not to click on it.  However, today I will share the information, as well as my own opinions in italics, with you as you may have chosen not to click on it either:

“Your cover letter is your best chance to sell why you specifically are the best candidate for this job.”

  • Write a strong opening. Don’t just say “I am applying for your listing which I found on LinkedIn”, but explain why you are applying: “The opportunity to join your company as a Marketing manager is an excellent match with my 7 years of experience marketing top-end consumer products with over $50 million in annual sales.”   –> This will show that you researched the company and really read the job description!
  • Include experience and strengths that relate directly to the job you are seeking. It is not necessary to include everything from your resume here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       –> As I’ve said before, there is no need to talk about a job in a bakery, if it doesn’t relate.  It’s better to show the most relevant work in the last 5 years than irrelevant work over the last 10.
  • Research the person and company you are applying to. If you have any shared interests, backgrounds or connections, mention those to increase the interest of the hiring manager.                                                                          –> Again, this shows that you’ve actually done some research and feel that you would be a good fit for the position.
  • Be creative. Make sure your cover letter shows who you are; stand out from the crowd.                                                –> I’ve been including the link to my blog.
  • Proofread carefully. Spelling and grammatical errors can be a big problem. You may want to type your cover letter in a word-processing program and use the spellchecker. Then just copy and paste your letter into the provided field.                                                                                                                                                                                                    –> I couldn’t agree more.  Do you remember me telling you about my two friends?  One wrote regards incorrectly, when he mistakenly typed a “t” instead of a “g”,and another misspelled shift, by omitting the “f.”  These types of mistakes may not be picked up as they are actual words, so pay close attention!  Sometimes I feel like I could re read a document 10 times and find mistakes each time.

And finally, here is an example of a cover letter from LinkedIn:
Dear <name>,
(if the poster has made his/her name available use it, otherwise use “Hiring Manager”)

The opportunity to join your company as a Marketing manager is an excellent match with my 7 years of experience marketing top-end consumer products with over $50 million in annual sales.

Specifically, my applicable experience for this job and key strengths include:

<list your experiences>
(Don’t repeat your resume, but tie specific experiences to the requirements for the job)

The attached resume and my LinkedIn profile provide more detail about my other past experience and accomplishments. Endorsements from other professionals, former colleagues and bosses can also be seen in my LinkedIn profile.

I’m sure there are some people I’ve worked with in the past who are accessible through your LinkedIn network; I encourage you to use the reference search LinkedIn provides to get more information about my qualifications from some of those people.

Thank you for your time and attention; I look forward to hearing from you soon.

<insert your first and last name> “

Good luck and…what did you do today?

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