To impress the reader (and to get them to take longer than 6.2 seconds on your resume), though, there are four goals every cover letter you send must accomplish:
1. Demonstrate Your Skills and Accomplishments
Advertising your skills and accomplishments early on in a cover letter works well to pique the interest of hiring managers. This is because many are more intrigued by intros that start with: “Searching tirelessly for a top-level executive chef with 20 years of restaurant, casino, and hotel experience? Look no further!”—rather than: “I want to thank you for the opportunity to apply for the executive chef position.”
Candidates have found that managers respond more willingly to the creative introduction that lists reasons they should be hired. Keep this concept in mind as you write your own.
2. Pinpoint Challenges You Want to Address
In the first sentence, you’ve likely touched on the second goal, which is to pinpoint challenges you want to address with the company. But it’s not a bad idea to do it again. You don’t have to talk about specific challenges in the introduction; this can be saved for later in the letter. But you can touch on goals that any company in the field might face and why you want to tackle them.
Believe it or not, this can be accomplished in two brief sentences that read something like this: “Every restaurant faces its challenges in customer service, staff and budget management, and food execution. I am eager to take the reins with XYZ Restaurant and steer business in the right direction.”
3. Explain Why You’re the Right Fit
Next, it’s important to explain why you’re the right fit for the position. You can do this by noting that the company needs a qualified candidate to meet its agenda, then list three or four reasons why you’re the qualified candidate it needs.
The idea is to get right to the point of why you’re the perfect fit. No beating around the bush allowed—because hiring managers simply don’t have time to search for the message you’re trying to deliver.
4. Entice the Reader to Keep Reading
Finally, your goal is to let the reader know that your introduction is only the beginning and that you have more to offer. For instance, by stating, “I believe it’s never too late to develop strategies that lead a restaurant to greatness, and I am ready to utilize my long-term experience, intuition, and dedication to get the job done”, you could successfully convince a manager to keep reading.
If your cover letter isn’t accomplishing these four goals, it is time for rewrite! Take your time, and come up with a document sure to impress a potential employer!
About the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients.
As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!