Great Cover Letters (VIDEO)

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In this video, Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter Offers two different approaches to writing effective cover letters.

 

Summary

I want to talk with you about cover letters today because cover letters are 1 of those things are an afterthought in most people's repertoire and, frankly, they are the "grabber" of your speech.

Do you know what I mean by a grabber? If you are at a function where someone is going to give a formal speech, often, they are going to try to grab your attention, tell you a story, tell you a joke, tell you something that's designed to get your attention. A cover letter is really like that.

When I start off in recruiting in days of old, a cover letter was actually a cover letter. It was attached on top of your resume and mail to the recipient. I know it's hard to imagine people actually did that but they did. Today, were actually talking about a "cover email" but still: a cover letter. It is really the thing that should grab someone's attention.

How do you do that? How do you get someone to actually open that attachment and pay attention to your resume? The easiest way to do it is if you have someone who referred you to this individual. So, in that case, you would lead off with that right away. However, if you don't have someone you can point to (I am referred to you by Ramesh Patel. He told me were trying to hire someone for this role), what can you do?

There are 2 schools of thought to this. One is to be relatively brief and to the point. "I saw your position on such and such site. I noted that required experience with such and such things. I have more than 6 years of experience with each of those skills." Then he would talk about your role, responsibilities and accomplishments in a relatively brief manner. From there you would conclude by saying, "I hope to hear from you in the next few days about scheduling an interview or, barring that, I will call you with the early part of next week to chat."

The 2nd one which I think is very interesting is doing what I call it point by point. You have seen a job listing so you would copy and paste it into your cover email. "I saw your position on such and such site requiring this background. Here's what you do next. Next to each of the skills required for the position, you would write down how long and how recently you had worked with each. Using technology as an example, if they are listing J2EE background, "we are looking for someone with 5 years of J2EE experience plus 5 years of such and such and 6 years of such and such," next to each item you would indicate how long and how recently you work with each. See might write, "7 years of J2EE as recently as last week."

Next to the next requirement, you might write, "3 years of experience as recently as 6 months ago." Continue by going item by item with the job requirements and list how long and how recently you worked with each. From there, you might list the functionality of the position (each of the things that they would want you to do) and do the same thing next to each. This makes it very easy for them to see what the fit is like.

From there, you would wrap it up by saying, "I hope to hear from you soon about scheduling the interview. Barring that, I will call you later this week or early part of the next."

That makes it a very effective cover letter because you make it very obvious to them in the cover letter. Then you back it up with a resume that you have attached your cover email that, again, demonstrates the fit however, if your resume doesn't support what you said in your cover letter, they will start to scratch their head and asked themselves, "What gives here?"

Thus you have to tailor your resume to confirm what you told them in the cover letter is accurate. Together, they become a very powerful presentation.

 

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is an executive job search and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

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