I realize I am dating myself by saying I remember the days of getting paper resumes and cover letters through snail mail; the stacks of which would pile up so quickly on my desk. And so, now in this digital age of electronic resume collection, I do sometimes reflect on the days when you would receive a well-written cover letter, loaded with teasers to create excitement about reviewing the accompanying resume and credentials.
It seems that the necessity of a cover letter has waned, understandably. Yet, when I receive a resume without even a bio or introduction, it gives me pause. Working in an IT and Creative staffing agency, I believe the modern cover letter has morphed into a one or two-sentence statement that functions more as an introduction than that of presentation of value positioning.
Instead of a traditionally lengthy cover letter, please consider a few tips that will help elevate your presentation, whether it’s to a Human Resource Manager or Hiring Manager.
Whether your cover letter comes in the form of a Word document, or if it is in the body of an email, it should include:
- A formal greeting
- An introduction
- A marketing statement of 5-6 sentences to clearly demonstrate your value
- A closing
An important step in our interview process at Profiles is formulating a strong marketing statement for our talent. This should include engaging highlights of your career work experience, projects or results that are a stand out amongst your peers. This is time to confidently present what it is that you bring to table by way of skills, experience, knowledge and methodology that make the reader want to read on.
Exclude the Following
• “To Whom it May Concern” – Find out the name of the hiring manager through LinkedIn or another resource, and personalize the heading.
• Salary Expectations – A Recruiter will ask you your salary expectations in one of the early interviews. Don’t expect a premature negotiation without meeting anyone or understanding the nature of the job and company.
• Objective Statement- This is outdated and unnecessary, whether on your resume or cover letter. These tend to be generic, and make you appear out of date.
• “References Available Upon Request”- Again, this is an unnecessary statement. Any recruiter or Hiring Manager will assume that you have credible, positive references.
• Long-Winded Stories- Anyone reviewing your job application is pressed for time. Instead of writing a novella, keep your successes concise. Emphasize how you will solve a Client’s problems, not how you ended up in NYC after college.
By following these suggestions, you can positively differentiate yourself from the crowd of job seekers, articulate your professional successes, and increase your job opportunities.
Profiles is a unique staffing firm specializing in Marketing employment, Creative, and Web & IT jobs. Since 1998, we have served the needs of our Clients and Talent by matching the best candidates with the best companies in the Mid-Atlantic region: Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA and Richmond, VA.
Author Name – Laurie Allen
Title – Branch Manager
Location – Philadelphia, PA
Twitter – @lwallen
Byline – Laurie has over 15 years of staffing experience and has worn many hats including that of an in-house and agency recruiter, account director and direct hire regional manager. In her current role of Branch Manager for Profiles, she has the pleasure of aligning the industries best marketing, creative and interactive talent to the regions premier companies.
If you want to highlight your management experience:
“In total, I manage 14 employees within 4 departments.”
If you need to further explain what type of position:
“My position can best be defined as a District Manager with significant store management responsibility in the flagship location.”
If you want to showcase a relevant academic achievement:
“I was the recipient of the Booker T. Washington Scholarship, which is granted to all graduate students with over a 3.95 GPA.”
If you are describing a territory that demonstrates you can handle a significant sales radius:
“I handle a 15-mile radius of sales territory in my district.”
If you are an educator and wish to show the significant teaching course-load that you are able to handle:
“I teach 15 credits of college English courses to more than 120 students each semester.”
If you want to indicate a degree that is relevant to the position you are applying to:
“Also, I hold an M.S. in Forensic Science”
If you want to indicate a certification that would make you more marketable for the position:
“Finally, I have Massachusetts English Teacher Licensure for grades 5-8 and 9-12.”
If you are describing a dollar amount within your achievement that shows you can make a significant amount of sales on a monthly basis:
“My monthly sales average is 2 million dollars of residential real estate.”
If you are describing a dollar amount that you feel would be noteworthy:
“I also single-handedly increased sales by $40,000 to $50,000 in each of my last three sales positions.”
If you wish to list a publication that demonstrates your scholarly work in your field:
“I am proud to have also published a paper in 2016 in ‘The Philosophical Quarterly’ entitled ‘The Problem of Ethics’.
If you wish to showcase your language skills because the customer base at the company to which you are applying is likely to speak a different language:
“Finally, I am fluent in three languages: Arabic, French, and English.”
If you wish to indicate specialized computer skills that an IT job is seeking:
“I am able to code in SQL, C#, Java, C++, and Python.”
If you wish to show how you saved your company money, thereby demonstrating your efficiency:
“As a final note, I streamlined our company’s supply chain process, resulting in a savings of over $400,000 in three years.”
If you wish to indicate an accolade or honor that differentiates you from others in your field:
“I am also the proud recipient of the 2014 NSPE Distinguished Service Award.”
If you think that your online presence will augment your credibility:
“I have also obtained a four-star rating from Angie’s List.”