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5 Tips on How to Write an Awesome Cover Letter
11/15/2011 12:02:59 PM
By Michelle Wong, BioSpace.com
The ultimate goal of a cover letter is to encourage hiring managers to read your resume. Like movie trailers, cover letters are brief introductions that allow hiring managers to screen candidates. When we watch a movie trailer for instance, we screen out the trailers we like from the ones we don’t like. Usually the ones we do like tend to be more memorable and evoke some positive emotion that causes us to take action and see the movie.
If the busy hiring manager does not see any relevant job skills in a cover letter, the resume will be screened out and the applicant will lose the chances of landing an interview. To prevent this scenario from happening to you, you will need to know some of the necessary components on how to write an effective and captivating cover letter.
In your cover letter, remember to:
1. Address your cover letter to a person whenever possible.
Many times it is easier to just address a cover letter as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam,” but try to make the effort to find out the name of the hiring manager by researching the company’s website or even finding their name in the job posting. By obtaining and using their name in your cover letter, you are acknowledging them personally and there will be a better chance that they will remember you.
2. Use a unique introduction.
By using a unique introduction, you are making yourself stand out from the rest of the applicants. A dull generic introductory statement like “I am writing this cover letter to express my interest in your Pharmaceutical Sales position with XYZ Company” will just tell the hiring manager what he or she already knows and it will not get you too far. To make
your opening statement more exciting, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, an Expert Resume Writer, recommends surprising the reader from the very beginning by using an opening statement like, “Team spirit is the backbone of any successful pharma sales department — and as a team player with 10 years of award-winning sales experience, I am ready to play ball with the best!” This kind of statement will show off your skills, experience, and show that you are enthusiastic about the position and are ready to take the challenge.
3. Bullet and list your accomplishments.
By bulleting 3-4 of your accomplishments, you will highlight your achievements in an easy-to-read format for the hiring manager. Provide the hiring manager with hard core facts by using numbers and percentages. An example of an accomplishment could be: “Exceeded quarterly sale quotas by 70% for X Pharmaceuticals by targeting well established start up physicians’ offices.”
4. Mention your online brand.
If you happen to have a LinkedIn account or a blog, incorporate these in your cover letter. By including your own LinkedIn or blog account, you are letting the employer know that you are taking part of your time to professionally connect with people in your dedicated field. It will also show the employer that you are knowledgeable and that you have a genuine interest in your field and are socially technology savvy. If you are a member of a club, work as a volunteer at an organization, or take part in professional meetings, remember to mention those, too.
5. Follow up.
Follow up by using a timeframe to let the hiring managers know you are serious about meeting with them. Hiring managers are busy reviewing other applicants so it is important to keep your application at the top of their minds. Not following up can mean the difference of having an interview or not having one.
About the Author
Michelle Wong researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.
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