Tuesday, January 21, 2014

B#2. A Cover Letter this Delicious? It Can't Be True!

Welcome to part two of my job prep blog series!

So you have a beautiful resume in front of you that lists all your skills and accomplishments. Great job! Now it's time to tell your new bosses why you're so awesome, because let's face it, they probably aren't going to dissect your resume like we did when we worked on it.

Like we've discussed, landing your new job has three steps:

A#1: The Resume
B#2: The Cover Letter
C#3: The Interview

So let's talk about that cover letter. Google will advise you to write three boring paragraphs that emphasize your skills, accomplishments, and enthusiasm. And while those are all good elements of a cover letter, they aren't the whole enchilada.

Cover letters are your chance to express your professionalism and personality in writing. Employers expect you to tell them why they should hire you. This is your chance to brag.

Set yourself up with a nice header including your address, the address of the company, and a "Dear So-and-So." If you know the name of the person receiving the letter, use it. If not, try to find the name of anyone in the company who sounds like they're involved.

Cover letters should begin by briefly introducing yourself and the job you want:
     In response to your advertisement for a new judge on America's Got Cookies, I express my sincere interest in the role of "judge." As an cookie enthusiast for forty-five years, I have extensive cookie baking, eating, and enjoying experience."

Choose a tone that matches their company. Read their website content, Tweets, and Facebook updates to see if they are super serious, casual, or obnoxiously excited. Match that tone in your cover letter from the very beginning. You want to show them you'll fit in just great, thankyouverymuch.

Next, it's time to reflect on your skills and why they make you not only eligible for the position, but superior to all other candidates:

     After years of eating cookies, I have devised many social experiments to calculate just how significant the cookie is as a part of American culture. Between testing friends' recipes to measuring the re-pin rate of yummy-looking cookies, I have discovered that the visual impact of a cookie can severely alter one's impression of the cookie's taste. This has led me to understand not only the importance of cookie decorating, but also the importance of separating decor from taste via the "blind taste."

In this, the second paragraph of your cover letter, you need to expand on your experience with the job's field. Acknowledge your experience, as it is listed in your resume. Be sure to explain what made you successful in that job and what you've gained from the job. Note how you've interpreted these lessons to be helpful for your future.

Finally, blow them away with your final paragraph. This is the time to offer specifics as to how you will be the best employee they've ever had--either because of your acquired skills or your readiness to learn:

     My ability to judge a cookie not only for it's decor but also for it's taste summarizes my skill in judging cookies. I can offer feedback in an entertaining way, as seen in my Youtube videos. Due to my extensive knowledge in the anatomy of a cookie along with my ability to provide fun, dramatic, and emotional feedback to bakers, I hope to participate in America's Got Cookies as the next favorite judge!

Be sensitive in this paragraph. The trick is to highlight your strengths without becoming bossy. You don't want to tell the reader what he's looking for in a candidate (since that's already been noted in the job posting). Instead, refer to those qualities in the job posting as qualities you possess and tell the reader why their company will benefit from your ability to use them.

Then, wrap it up with a follow-up action and a signature,
     I look forward to discussing this position with you soon. Please let me know if you have any questions or desire more information from me at this time.
                                                                                                    Cookie Monster

REMEMBER: Put yourself in the employers' shoes. Mimic their tone and match their level of professionalism. (Don't be afraid to be more creative if you're applying to a creative field.) And lastly, send me your cover letter at LizMcLaneEditing@gmail.com for an edit and proof read!

Stick around for C#3: The Interview, coming at ya next week.

**These are not Cookie Monster's real words. PBS, please don't sue me.
***If anyone creates a show using the name America's Got Cookies or similar, or creates a show with the same or similar premise, please please please let me be a judge. And pay me lots of money for using my idea. Kthnxbye.

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