When a company is attempting to fill a vacant job position, the hiring manager will usually post recruiting ads in places where job seekers congregate. These ads contain important information, including the job description, salary information and the special skills or qualifications the ideal job candidate should possess. In many cases, the hiring manager will ask you to submit a cover letter and resume in application for the position. Don't take the cover letter lightly. Use it as a tool to convince her that you are the woman for the job.
Personalize The Letter
Before starting your cover letter, review the recruiting ad to determine whom you should address the letter to. This person is usually the hiring manager. If the hiring manager's name does not appear in the ad, contact the company to ask for a name. Us the hiring manager's name to add a personalized greeting to the beginning of your letter. For instance, use “Dear Jane Doe” instead of the generic “Dear Sir or Madame.”
Give a Handshake
If you were meeting the hiring manager in person, you would identify yourself and shake her hand before having a seat to discuss why she should hire you. Use the first paragraph of your cover letter as if it were a handshake. Identify yourself and let the hiring manager know why you are writing. Let her know you are submitting your cover letter and resume in response to her ad. You can even mention where you saw the ad, as this helps the company determine which marketing strategies are working.
Now that you have warmed up to the hiring manager a little bit, jump right into selling yourself. Use the second paragraph of the cover letter to explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Briefly mention your employment background, special skills, credentials and how you can fit in with the company's vision or mission statement. If you don't know the company's vision or mission statement, look on the company's website. Before listing your skills, refer back to the recruiting ad to see what special skills the employer is looking for. Mention some of those skills when selling yourself.
Close The Sale
The whole purpose of writing the cover letter is to entice the hiring manager to hire you. That's unlikely to happen without an interview. Close the sale by asking for an interview to further discuss why you are the right candidate for the job. Include your contact information and the best time to contact you. Don't forget to shake the manager's hand again in your closing by thanking the hiring manager for her time and consideration. Don't forget to add a professional closing to your letter, followed by your handwritten and typewritten signature. Two common professional closings include “Sincerely” and “Respectfully.”
Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.