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The Ten Ways to Make a Cover Letter Help You Get the Job

Updated on October 10, 2012
When applying for a job, your cover letter comes before you
When applying for a job, your cover letter comes before you | Source

What's Up with a Cover Letter for Your Job Application? Nothing, It's Only What Gets You the Job!

Most everyone knows that it is better to attach a cover letter for a job application, but sometimes a job applicant would want to skip this part in favor of expediency. This is very, very wrong; the cover letter is everything, it's even more important than the resume. It is the first thing that the prospective employer sees about you, it is how he or she forms a first impression. And in the business of trying to get a job, first impressions is everything.

So the next time you are tempted to skip the cover letter writing process, don't! It can spell the difference between getting the job or not. You must spend a lot of time with polishing your cover letter and your resume. The cover letter is a sales pitch for your resume, so use it well. First of all, it should look professional, which means it must have all the elements of a good letter and that includes getting the name of the employer right (if available) as well as the position you are targeting. Here is a sample cover letter:

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am delighted to apply for the position of Customer Care Representative which you advertised today on Craigslist. I possess seven years of inbound call center experience as a customer service representative and technical support associate. Although I am fully trained in all the popular call center processes and standard customer service practices, I believe in always keeping an open mind.

My writing background also provides me with the ability to communicate well in writing, and can be counted upon to write excellent memos and reports. As an online content writer for many years, accessing data as well drawing conclusions from website information systems is something that I do almost instinctively. I can say the same for database systems. I have accessed so many different kinds through the years in the call center environment that I foresee no problems whatsoever with learning a new one.

In my current job as a Special Services Associate at the Home Depot, I answer all incoming calls from customers who may have a simple question or may have some issues with their orders. However, at this point in my career, I still yearn for the more detailed troubleshooting that occurs in a call center environment. Of course, multitasking and being able to solve problems under pressure are a given in such a situation. After years of exposure in such an environment, experience has certainly been my best teacher.

I have attached my resume to this application, in order to help you make a preliminary assessment of my qualifications. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 778 -280 -4220. I would love to meet with you in the future.

Sincerely yours,

Richie Mogwai

Notice the use of the phrase "I am delighted..." rather than the customary "I would like to apply for..." "Delighted" shows that you are very much interested in the position. If you can think of something even more upbeat, by all means, you should consider it. Remember: You cannot go with the flow. You must stand out! A typical job posting at Craigslist gets around two hundred responses on average, so how do you compete with that?

Next, you must immediately state the reasons why the employer should consider your application by indicating how you fit the position in terms of your qualifications. Do not bother to apply if you do not meet the qualifications, or else you will be wasting yours and the recruiter's time. Remember, he or she has over two hundred resumes to skim through. Help the recruiter make a decision by giving an honest, accurate description of how you fit the position.

Also, do not forget to mention your current job so the employer knows immediately that you are working. Of course, if it is not relevant to the position you are applying for, you might not want to call too much attention to it. In addition, you should say something about your personality traits such as that you are a multitasker, you love pressure, you are always on time and the like. Just be careful not to go overboard. It's just that the employer needs to hear, rather read these things.

Don't forget to mention your phone number even if you already mentioned it in the resume. By emphasizing your phone number, the employer may be more predisposed towards contacting you. Advertising research reveals that repeating something three times works like a hypnotic charm that targets the human subconscious. So if you can mention your phone number and name in the letter once, and twice in your resume (on the top and in the footnote at the bottom), it just might boost your case; by the way, don't tell George Lucas of Starwars fame I told you so.

Here is another letter, one that gives more than enough detail of the applicant's qualifications, and goes slightly overboard. It is obviously longer than the first example, and the letter writer seems to have worked very hard to emphasize his credentials. However, the human attention span especially of a recruiter who has to skim through hundreds of pages of paper work is short, so this will not cut it. You should strive to limit your cover letter to about one page of a regular coupon bond size (i.e., not legal size). Remember, short and sweet works, but it is still a balancing act between giving enough details and saying too much about yourself.

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am delighted to apply for the position of Inbound Technical Support Representative which you advertised recently on Craigslist. I am fully qualified for the position considering my six years of inbound call center experience (Sprint Canada) in a customer service capacity and one year in a technical support capacity (ClientLogic). In addition, I am an excellent writer, having worked consistently as a prolific Internet content provider (Constant Content, The Content Authority, etc.), so you can count on me to write polished memos, reports and replies to email or snail mail.

I am looking for a full time position and willing to leave my current job in order to give my 100 percent to the task at hand, an opportunity which I find to be rare in the current job market. This is the reason why I have had to foray into other fields of endeavor while never losing sight of my first love, which is working in an inbound call center environment in a combined technical support and customer service capacity. In all honesty, I do not think I could ever find a more fulfilling job.

Many customers had attested to my professional, calm and soothing voice over the phone; and as well, my capacity to resolve customer issues and concerns on the fly. It does not matter whether I am dealing with a consumer or commercial customer, as I possess tons of experience in both sectors. I cannot wait to demonstrate just how well I fit into the position that you have available, having dealt with customers from all walks of life.

I am inclined to believe that the secret of my success is a simple formula that involves relying on my existing call center skills while retaining my rather sponge-like capacity to learn new skills. A living proof of the efficacy of my personal approach is how easily I could adapt to new software while being an expert in Microsoft Word and a competent user of Microsoft Excel. Coupled with my incurable optimism, sky is the limit with how much knowledge I could continue to absorb and the number of customers I could impress with my positive attitude and emphatic tone over the phone.

Rest assured, I could make myself available for an interview at a moment's notice, just let me know. For starters, I make my resume available for your immediate review (attached), and feel free to ask me any preliminary questions, no holds barred. I have a rather open secret of success, and can only be much obliged to be of help to my possible future employer and coworkers. Spreading the cheer through meaningful interaction is what I am all about, so please forgive me for getting too excited about the possibility of meeting you in person. Getting back to a call center environment would be nothing short of a life-changing experience for me, and I cannot wait to pick up the phone.


Richie Mogwai

To continue, cover letters are not always perfect, but this does not mean that you don't need to work hard at it. Here is a simple cover letter that should be adequate for say, an applicant who's out to get a simple, grocery store type of job:

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am delighted to apply for the position of Postal Clerk and Cashier that you advertised on Craigslist on August 31, 2012. I am very interested in the position because first of all, I possess the requisite skills as well as experience and secondly, due to the fact that it is the job I love to do on a daily basis. I am currently employed at The Home Depot at Terminal Avenue in Vancouver as a Special Services Associate and while I love this job, I am looking for career that will likewise enable me to grow my experience in postal service.

While working at the 7-Eleven in Canada Way and Smith, my manager encouraged me to also tackle the arduous challenge of managing the store's Canada Post outlet, and within a few weeks of training, I was able to run the service on my own. I believe I was able to do this because of my attention to detail and tried-and-tested organization skills, two abilities that I have always depended on in challenging situations.

Your part-time schedule certainly suits the career I have in mind and I can assure you that I can make myself available at any time. My resume is attached for your review. Please do not hesitate to contact me at the earliest opportunity. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to getting in touch with you in the near future.

Sincerely yours,

Richie Mogwai

Whether you are looking for a part-time job or a serious position in Information Technology or the medical field, you need to make sure to tailor-fit your message to the person who will be reading the letter. You cannot sound like an erudite gentleman if you are looking for a job as a cashier at the local drugstore or convenience store, or else you might be at the risk of getting overqualified for the position.

Sometimes, you need to let go of your writing background and sound like a normal person just trying to get a temporary job, so act or write the part. Remember, you are not applying for a writing position so your grammar does not have to be perfect here, and the employer in this case cannot care less if you write like a pro or not; he or she is only concerned if you can do the job or not. Also, take note how the cover letter sample above mentions the date the ad appeared on Craigslist. Some employers would like to know when you saw the ad and how soon you responded to it. Your diligence in this area also indicates that you know how to pay attention to details.

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am delighted to apply for the position of General Shop Help and Customer Service, a position which you posted today on Craigslist. I have decided to apply for this position right away because I have always dreamed of working on Granville Island. It would therefore be a dream come true to be part of your staff, and bring in my retail and customer service experience to the position at hand. Right now, I am currently working at the Vancouver Home Depot as a Special Services Associate, a job that I have held for going on two years now.

In this position, I answer phone calls, process payment for special orders, and perform cashier functions for product returns and sale of regular products. I am on my toes for eight hours and constantly orchestrating the delivery of excellent customer service to the Depot 's loyal customers. Previous to this, I have worked for Seven Eleven as a sales associate, processing sales transactions while preparing and cooking food stuffs such as pizza, hot dogs, fries and other fast foods.

If hired for the General Shop Help and Customer Service position, I would be able to give you complete availability, and rest assured, you can count on me to report for duty on afternoons and evenings. I feel that it is time for me to move back to food retail business as it is the job I do best and I enjoy the most. I'm a multitasker by nature, used to constantly moving, and prefer a stand up position to a sedentary job.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 778 -280 -4220 for an interview at any time. My resume is attached for your review.

Sincerely yours,

Richie Mogwai

Above is another example of a simple job scenario, where the person is applying for a general help position at a butcher's shop. Here, short and sweet is definitely the name of the game. The individual who runs the butcher shop probably owns it, too; and most likely, he or she does not have time to read all your highfalutin words, he just wants to get on with the business of selling meats and find someone who can help him as soon as possible.

Notice how the applicant briefly explains his time availability for the position, saving the master butcher a phone call to obtain this kind of information. By putting himself in the master butcher's shoes, the applicant stands more chance of getting the job. Further, the employer cannot care less about the individual's resume, too; nevertheless, the applicant should turn one in just the same. It have better be a simple one!

In summary, the cover letter is "it" in many job application scenarios so the applicant must never, never neglect it. Today's job market is at its toughest because of the current economic situation worldwide. The trick is not to go for quantity, but quality. It is not a numbers game if you have to stand out in the job marketplace. Remember, there are at least two hundred respondents for every job posted on Craigslist so stand out by:

Always submitting a cover letter to go hand in hand with your resume

Write the cover letter well by spending a lot of time on it

Make sure the cover letter has all the information the recruiter will need

That it is short yet has everything that the recruiter is looking for

Be sure to mention how you fit the position (i.e., your qualifications)

Be sure to mention your current job and yet not call attention to it if it is not relevant to the job posting

Don't forget: Also indicate your availability in the cover letter

Very important: Always customize your letter to the employer's needs

Make it short and sweet (the employer has to go through so many applicants)

The letter is the first thing the recruiter sees!

Before the interview, there was the cover letter
Before the interview, there was the cover letter | Source

Before you apply for a job...

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    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Quite the helpful hub, especially now that lots of people seem to be searching for jobs involuntarily. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Phew! You are really a whiz at resume writing! So easy to leave out the important details! Thanks for sharing this with us! Sharing too!


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