Is Your Cover Letter Effective? 5 Rules To Writing An Effective Cover Letter
The purpose of a cover letter is to send a personalized message to the employer stating your interest in a position and the value you can bring to their organization as a professional in the construction, engineering and environmental industry It is a critical part of the application process that adds a powerful element to your resume; generating interest in you as a potential employee that is qualified and can get the job done.
Many times candidates overlook the power of a cover letter and its ability to strengthen your application; following these simple rules you will assure you have an effective cover letter to accompany your resume.
Rule #1- Address The Cover Letter To The Hiring Manager
Send the cover letter and your resume to the person who can make the hiring decision. Personal letters get read far ahead of form letters. Think of your own experience when you open your mail. The letters addressed to you personally get read first. The letters addressed to “sir” or “madame” or “human resources” may not get read at all.
It is best to call the company you are interested in and find out the name and title of the person in charge of that department that is doing the hiring. Most of the time you do not want to say you are looking for a job, as you will most likely be redirected back to an online application or directly to the Human Resources Department; by communicating that you have some information to send and want to make sure it gets delivered to the right person will allow you to learn the department managers name rather effectively.
Don’t make the mistake of aiming too high. corporate presidents and board chairpersons get a lot of resumes because their names are so visible. Even with a good cover letter these are usually intercepted. Find a person at the department or division level who is making the direct hiring decision for the organization.
Rule # 2- Communicate Something Personal
In your opening line, write something that is uniquely associated with the person, division, or organization and that will signal to the reader you have invested some time to communicate with them personally. For example you could say you agree with the company’s mission statement, and it supports your own personal goals towards helping our environment, and solving its many problems.
Rule #3-Answer the Question “Why Should I See You?”
In the body of the cover letter, let the employer know your key skills and how they would be valuable to the organization. Demonstrate how you can contribute to the success of the company, talk about your accomplishments, projects and education. Do not be afraid to take a few risks in describing what you feel you could do for the employer.
Rule# 4- Use Their Language
In every industry there is a set of professional jargon and/or terminology that you need to use in your cover letter to showcase your ability and expertise. Just don’t over do it.
If you are a new entry to the industry or are making a career change the internet, career centers or public library is a great place to research particular jobs, industries and companies. Using the correct terminology that is commonly used by construction, engineering and environmental professionals will allow your peers to see you as an equal when reading your cover letter.
Rule # 5- Ask For the Interview
Don’t wait to be asked, go ahead either suggest a date and time that would be convenient for the employer to meet with you or let them know you will be following up with them in the next few days to schedule a time to meet. It show initiative.
If you follow through on all 5 rules, the employer will not turn you down because you have already established your value as a construction, engineering and environmental professional and strategic problem solving capabilities By taking the initiative, you are demonstrating your self- confidence and communicating to the employer you are qualified for the job and worth taking up the hiring managers time for an interview.
Michael DeSafey is a leading executive recruiter for professionals in the construction, engineering and environmental industries. He is currently the President of Webuild Staffing (www.webuildstaffing.com ). To learn more about Michael or to follow his Blog please visit www.michaeldesafey.com