Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cover Letter For Resume: Does Yours Have A Strategy? Part 1

Imagine a stack of resume packages on an employer’s desk. A cover letter is picked up and examined. How much time spent on the first paragraph? Second paragraph? Third? What points are they interested in? Where do they simply stop reading? Do they pick up the enclosed resume that came with it… or the next cover letter?

Does your cover letter have a strategy? Consider AIDA.

AIDA is an acronym standing for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It’s been around forever and is better than letting your cover letter just “drift” along.

The hire-person's been reading several covers/resumes for the job... words are blending together, starting to all look the same. If they’re like me their focus wonders off…

Your cover letter has between ten to twenty seconds to make a good impression. What can you do in that time to get them to focus on it instead of just cruise on through. The first crucial step in having it placed in the “to be interviewed” pile?

Gain their attention... be unique and yank them off autopilot... but avoid looking gimmicky or obvious while doing it.

Consider starting off your cover letter with a headlining statement, something focusing on your ability and availability to help their business. Something concrete, specific and measurable in terms of success. Here's an example.

Experienced database administrator with eight years experience managing and growing three unique company infrastructures is available immediately.

I usually preach strict conciseness on resumes (check out my other sites: Resume Objectives and How To Make A Resume Great) but cover letters are just a bit more informal and inviting. Though the headline has an adverb (immediately) it's one of the few times that an adverb adds value and doesn't look trite. 9 times out of 10 eliminate ALL adverbs.

The Amazing Resume Creator has a cover letter addition that shows great ways to open cover letters. If you're interested I’ll have a personal review of it up soon. Stay tuned.

People like to pan over documents… skip around at first glance instead of reading it word for word… but there’s always a single portion of any letter that always gets read. Know what it is? Think about it and we’ll discuss it in the next article. We’ll also investigate more into AIDA, in particular the part called Interest.

Stay tuned.

1 comment:

danielryannelson said...

Resume Samples and Templates

What roles do you see yourself having in a new organization? Find out which industries you're looking for. Identify companies that you think you would like to be a part of. Determine who makes the decisions. Do you have a plan to go after your goal? Do not send your resume out to just anyone without warning. Such unsolicited resume are often thrown away, unread. Always do the necessary homework at the beginning.

When you can, use your well developed and written resume as a follow up tool, not as the first item you present. Present yourself as the product, not your resume. It should be utilized at the close of any great conversation, without regard to how short it may have been. Use it to remind readers of your main strengths, and provide details that they are curious about. You won't fall prey to the "send me your paper, and I'll think about meeting with you" approach. The potential employer, or the person who is looking for the job, is not benefited by prescreening with the resume method. Have some discussions with people. Research the company thoroughly. Promote your skills and assets. Make it happen for yourself!

Resume Samples and Templates