Okay, I admit it. I am an industry insider and a professional writer. But how on earth are so many of my first time clients not using a cover letter? Even for management jobs? My dear reader hopefully this incredible technological revolution we have all entered has not caused your brain cells to stagnate. Let me make it clear a cover letter is a magical door opening introduction. No doubt it is a sales letter but it takes you and your career places that are usually inaccessible.
Here are the main purposes for the cover letter: It allows you access to perfect strangers, in companies where you do not have a contact. It acts like the sizzling plate of fajitas that passes you by at your local TGI Friday’s Restaurant. It provides an irresistible essence of you and your skills to the right people who will be receptive to your talent. It provides a bit of insight to your true writing abilities, intelligence and creativity which could give you a significant edge over the competition. It allows you to address how you will solve the most pressing challenge that particular company has to face. Finally, it allows you to beat the usual stampede of applicants that otherwise would be your competition if you hadn’t just finished first already.
Not only have I heard stories of outstanding results from my clients in the resume writing business, but I certainly have experienced them first hand. Suddenly I was laid off work as a successful store manager after the Gordon’s Jewelers merger with Zale Corp in 1989. I needed a good job quick and I was stuck in St. Albans, VT in the winter. Naturally, I wasn’t going out to pound the pavement in -10 degree temperatures with a snow storm on the way. So I made an executive decision, I sent a few cover letters out. Two days later, I had an interview in Providence, RI at Tilden-Thurber Jewelers with both the CEO and owner together. After an hour of tough questions, I was hired.
Now this wasn’t just any jeweler, this was the finest jeweler in all of RI and certainly one of the best in the entire nation. American Gem Society, in business since 1767, Ideal cut diamonds only, these were just a few of the things that made them so special. Honestly, I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get an interview. But to by pass the HR department entirely and interview directly with the owner and the CEO that was monumental. Since I had no competition and was qualified, I was hired right on the spot. They did naturally, do a full background check before I started that was just routine though. Ever since my first experience with a cover letter, I have always used them and highly recommended them. In fact, in my own professional writing business they are always included with the price of a professionally written resume.
Keep in mind, the cover letter only was sent out. My resume only was shown at the interview. Should they ask though I will email it directly to them. My point is a well written cover letter that is tailored to each company’s needs is your ticket to success. I am trying to open your mind up to a world of opportunity that exists outside of the help wanted ads. Many of the finest companies don’t even use help wanted ads anyway.
Is it frustrating to show up at an employers HR department only to find out you have so much competition that interviews will end five days from now? Is it frustrating to see a stack of resumes six inches tall on your interviewers desk? Do they ask you for another copy of your resume since it will take too long to dig through that big stack on their desk? Would you believe you can by pass that needle in a haystack routine with eye popping cover letter? That is exactly what cover letters are for my friend. Occasionally, to test my new ideas and the current business climate I’ll ask for feedback from a cover letter client. Recently we got five email responses & an interview invitation from a single cover letter. Who would have thought a great cover letter could get passed along with in a company even before your interview?
In closing, if you would like to really advance your career, open your mind to all the possibilities and opportunity out there. Look beyond the help wanted ads which are mere fallen bread crumbs. You are invited to the unlimited abundance that the world has all around you. Welcome to your five star catered table Mr. Employee of the Year. We have been saving a chair for you thank goodness you sent us that cover letter a year ago. Yes Virginia, there really is opportunity everywhere all you have to do is ask. From Matthew 7:7 in the Bible: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you.” Cover letters are time tested and proven.
Now if you are not skilled writing about yourself and more importantly selling yourself. Perhaps you might want to leave the making yourself irresistible part to a professional writer. Remember cover letters should be custom tailored to each particular job target and company to have maximum impact.
Resumes too should follow this rule. Would you as an employer find a generic resume and cover letter even mildly interesting? Do you know the hot button words that act like high powered magnets for employers? Do you have impeccable editing and proofreading skills as your whole career is riding on your writing? If the answer is tentative, a maybe or no, ask for professional help. Remember you never get a second chance to make a first impression.