In conjunction with your resume, a cover letter is your first and possibly only chance to impress potential employers with your abilities. Put the time and effort into making your cover letter exceptional to increase your chances of standing out from the crowd. Many jobs receive dozens or even hundreds of applications, and the better the job, the more applicants it typically receives. Anything you can do to make your cover letter the best is to your advantage.
Useful to the Employer
The first and most important thing to remember is that any potential employer is going to hire you to help themselves, not to help you. Businesses are not charitable ventures. A company is looking for an employee because it needs a job done and objectives met. When applying to companies, always describe yourself in a way that emphasizes what you can do for them and how your presence will fulfill the needs they have or solve the problems they need solved. To do this, you need to do extensive research and understand the companies you are applying to.
A business doesn't want to hire someone it will have to baby-sit. Employers understand that a certain amount of training will be involved, but they are looking for employees who will take the initiative to learn what needs to be learned above and beyond what they are told. Present yourself as motivated, confident, creative and curious. Convince employers that you are someone who doesn't wait around to be told what to do but takes the initiative to get the job done. The more you can convince employers that your presence and performance will make their jobs easier, the more likely they are to hire you.
Most workplaces have a few people who are prickly and difficult to get along with. They can make everyone's jobs less pleasant, and hiring managers will avoid them if possible. Even if you know you are one of these people, you need to convince your potential employer that you are easy to work with if you hope to get the job. Try to include in your cover letter brief accounts of situations in which you cooperated well with others on a project or assignment. Don't belabor the point, but present yourself as someone who is a team player.
Include a paragraph in your cover letter that shows off some of your accomplishments. Things that you have done that were self-directed and beyond what was required are ideal. They could be job-related, recreational or in the field of public service. Anything that indicates you are a determined and motivated person with the skills to follow through on a task will leave the right impression with employers. Good intentions won't go far when applying for a job, but a proven record of accomplishment will get noticed.
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