One of the biggest common mistakes in composing a cover letter is the tone of the letter. The term cover letter in theory is a misnomer, because the word letter implies telling a story which is the opposite of the desired affect of your cover letter. In actuality, a cover letter's job is to convince using highlights of key skills and experience as supporting evidence of what you can do. This can be achieved by using words that are strong, and reflect action.
The structure of a great cover letter is influenced by following three simple steps.The reason why your cover letter needs to be great is to ensure that your cover letter is read in it's entirety, and possibly lead to an interview.
What are the three simple steps to a great cover letter?
1.Using action verbs. As mentioned earlier,passive words make your cover letter sound like a personal journal of sorts. The goal of a great cover letter is to evoke a sense of "action" and "reaction" from the Hiring Manager. Meaning your reader can almost feel and see the actions which are your accomplishments as well as the potential of these actions in terms of what you can do for his or her business.
2.Limit "I" and or "my" usage. Although "I" and "my" are words that are often perceived what you the writer is capable of doing. Phrases such as "I increased the sales of my team by a certain percentage" sound nice, however, if "I" or "my" is repeated too often, the reader will be bored.
3.Make subject line stand out. Everyone who has ever read a book on resumes (including mine) starts out their cover letter with the same phrase " in response to your ad in such in such place, I am interested in applying for certain position. Enclosed please find my resume". Now, in light of the change of the job market the last couple of years, that phrase is probably boring and downright obsolete.
Why? This particular group of sentences has been the standard for so long. In a not so competitive market, they may have a place. In today’s market with the amount of people competing for jobs has tripled at the very least, you need a great cover letter to pique the interest of the Hiring Manager. A phrase similar to "The position of such and such appeals to me, it seems in line with my current career goals. Past accomplishments include...." makes a better choice and it will help make your cover letter a great cover letter.
Creating a great cover letter using the three easy steps mentioned above is a start to having a great cover letter that is a pleasure to read,and potentially lead to interviews.
Malka Maxwell offers more information regarding cover letters in her Book How To Get Ahead With Resumes, visit How To Get Ahead With Resumes to get more articles, books and tools!