Writing A Cover Letter

A recent human resource study shows that about 70% of applicants who submitted their resumes with a cover letter landed a job interview. This figure indicates the importance of presenting a cover letter with every resume submission. However, preparing one can become time consuming and tedious.

A cover letter is a one-page document that the candidate submits to a company in addition to their resume, to express interest in the advertised opportunity or to explore future vacancy. Writing a cover letter is an opportunity for the aspirant to present themselves as suitable candidates for the job, stating in detail relevant experience, major accomplishments, significant achievements, skills and competencies – highlighting at least 75% of what is essential for the post. The ultimate goal is for a recruiter to take a glance on the enclosed resume and eventually asked to come for an interview. This can be compared to a door that, once opened, will lead to an individual’s professional journey.

While your resume is an overview of your credentials, your cover letter is equipped to serve as a sales tool. It should establish why you are a perfect match for the position. Remember, one job posting is seen by hundreds of passive and active job seekers, making it crucial to use this to market yourself to potential employers. Demonstrate why the hiring manager should utilize your services than other candidates vying for the post. Not all companies have time to train newcomers, if you possess the technical and transferable skills needed to be successful on the job, display that on a cover letter, this will sets you apart from other candidates.

Nonetheless, it is not always enough to simply know the job and have proven your expertise in the field. Expressing specific knowledge or background about the industry and company is definitely an advantage. This displays your genuine overall giving the employer the impression that you have a clear understanding of the kind of organization you want to be part of.
In more detail, here are some basic things you have to know about and include in your cover letter:

  1. It is ideal to provide the name and designation of the hiring manager on every cover letter. However, if this information cannot be obtained, your alternative should always be: “Dear Hiring Manager:, Dear Recruiting Team:, or Dear (Company Name) Team:” Do not use “To Whom It May Concern”.
  2. Always put a colon after a name in the salutation and not a comma.
  3. Your cover letter must have the same format as your resume. The header, footer, borders, font style and size should look exactly the same.
  4. Never present your cover letter in a coloured and/or fancy sheet. Print on a standard 8 ½ x 11 short bond paper.
  5. Never exceed one page. Make it elaborate but not too long and narrative.
  6. Follow a business format in dating and addressing your cover letter.
  7. It is a business letter therefore, do not indent. Use formal block paragraphs with spaces in between.
  8. The letter in total should never exceed three paragraphs:
    –   The first one should always consist of the position that you are applying for, your interest to join the company and how you learned about the opening. When referred by a specific person, acknowledge that person with their permission. Research the company and determine why it is well-known and recognized in their line of business. Use simple but catchy terms such as: “leading retail company”, “forerunner in the cement manufacturing industry”, “undefeated telecommunications enterprise”, etc.
    Be sure to articulate your strengths in the workplace supported by your background and emphasize the value that you will add to the organization.

    –   Next, briefly outline your qualifications vis-à-vis job specifics. Accentuate on the talents and experiences that matches the needs. Your letter should sound that you are the best person for this job. Use bullet points to enumerate your assets. You can say: “Some of the key strengths that I bring to the table include but are not limited to:” The list must catch the hiring manager’s attention enough to immediately call you for an interview.
    Own your accomplishments. Instead of saying: “This exposure increased my skills in”. Make yourself the active subject in the sentence: “In this role, my technical capabilities have greatly improved”.

    –   In your closing paragraph, wrap up the ways in which you will proceed with the application. In bold statement emphasize again why you should be considered. You should be assertive too by expressing that if you don’t hear from the person within a week (put the specific date), you will take initiative to follow up. Otherwise, you can say: “Looking forward to hearing from you soon or to meeting you in person to further discuss my qualifications in more detail”. Do not forget your contact information – your email and phone number where you can be easily reached. Thank the person for taking his/her time.

  9. End your letter with: “Sincerely,” and allocate a space for your signature.
  10. Make a notation at the bottom of the letter that your resume is enclosed with this letter.
  11. Proofread your letter. Do not rely too much on the computer’s “spelling and grammar” feature. If possible, ask a friend or a family member to review, correct or comment.
  12. Sound professional and educated. Use technical terms when necessary. For example, “in-depth knowledge of targeted selection, strong ERP background, extensive supply chain management exposure, CHRP or CPA designation, etc.” Avoid all forms of slang, unnecessary abbreviations, and avoid texting lingo at all times.
  13. Refer to sample cover letters online, but never plagiarize.

To summarize, it is important to always tweak your cover letter to correspond your desired position. Make it visually appealing and well-coordinated with your resume. Sell your expertise and value to the organization, but remember it is not your autobiography and should not exceed one page. Be very specific and concrete about what you can offer and bring to the company. Do not exaggerate or use generic language.

A potential employer’s first impression of you is the cover letter you submit. By following the guidelines above you can be certain to create a cover letter that will stand out and best exhibits your potential for future employment.

 

M. Beltran | DBPC Blog

How to Answer the Most Difficult Interview Questions

In a period where everything seems to be fast-paced, we have to be assertive enough to endure any challenges. Success comes with preparation and consistency. For interviewees, nothing is as intimidating as an employment dialogue. Passing it means possible career and stability. Everybody aims to stand out with their resumes and ace the thought-provoking meet up. Consider the following in order to be able to answer the most difficult interview questions:

Employers are definitely looking for candidates with critical thinking talents. Since this stage is demarcated as an elimination process in hiring, interviewers are set to put you in a hot seat and throw challenging queries. Now that you are given the opportunity to prove yourself, you want to prepare and guarantee a good chance of getting into the organization.

When you are asked with situations that make you divulge a weakness, you are probably into the route of saying you have no mistakes or you are a perfectionist. Obviously, you want to impress.
However, even the person you are talking to knows that it is not the truth. Even when this is counter intuitive, you should be truthful. The questioner does not really care about the faults. Rather, he/she wants to see how you succeeded the circumstances. Was it solved systematically? Did you have methods of tracing the cause of the problem? Were you mindful of any consequences it could possibly have on yourself as a team player and on the establishment?

“Tell me something about yourself.” is an overused inquiry. It’s either you have mastered your answer by simply repeating what is written on your portfolio, or you are suddenly caught off guard because it feels awkward to discuss about yourself. Avoid giving dull and expected answers. Share your greatest personal advantage as well as aspirations. Ambitious individuals are known to be assiduous. In addition, state something personal that will make them remember you. Keep it short though. They do not want to hear what happens in your house.

Mentioning about salary on the initial conference is not advisable. It is better to wait for them to do the offer than giving them the impression that it is your most imperative factor. It is a fact that remuneration matters. Nevertheless, be professional and wait for the right timing. When they ask, do not undersell yourself as this gives them an impression your capacity is tantamount to the pay. Give them a figure in the meridian range or slightly higher. A manager who sees the exceptional skills will not be held up by numbers.

Normally, executives will assess you through topics like value that you have added to your former company. They would also want to know the time-frame you could do the same, or even better to their corporation. Give a detailed account of how you were able to escalate the profitability of operations. Disclose any proposed procedures that was adopted and eventually increased savings. Your evaluator is waiting to hear statistics that you can back up. If you are not sure when you can do it for their firm, inform them of any plans that you have in mind instead. They are not expecting that you can provide positive modifications in a month in case they hire you. However, convince them that you have actual plans and you are definitely worth a try.

Now that you have idea on what happens inside those boardrooms or offices during job discussion, organize your thoughts and be ready to land on your dream job. Don’t forget the basics. Do the STAR method (situation, task, action and result). Research about the position and company. Make proper gestures like handshake and eye contacts. Last but definitely not the least, arrive on time.