By Sunny Simon
Needing a creative pitch letter for a project submittal I turned to my friend Ellen. She possesses a public/media relations background and is an amazing writer who effortlessly strings words together to entice the reader. Knowing the importance of a well written pitch she helped me create an outstanding, yet brief, succinct one page communication we knew would attract attention.
Ellen and I both respect the power of the written word. While she works her magic promoting her clients, I do something similar in my career coaching practice involving another type of pitch. I’m referring to the importance of a cover letter. Often I find myself baffled when individuals think they can attach a lame cookie-cutter cover to a resume, upload it to an employer’s website and expect to get an interview. I’m here to tell you folks, it doesn’t work that way.
Should you even write a cover letter? My answer is yes with a capital Y and followed by about five exclamation points. According to some human resource professionals I’ve interviewed, a well written cover can serve multiple purposes. Craft a stellar pitch and you will stand out above the competition, showcase your communication ability and demonstrate how your skills and experience align with the job requirements. Most importantly spending time creating a customized cover letter for each unique position you apply will help you score an interview.
Now that I have your attention, and before you sit down to write a cover letter, let me tell you what not to do. Never bore the reader with facts that can be found on your resume. Redundancy in those two documents will frustrate the hiring manager because you have wasted his or her time. Other items that sends your candidacy on the fast track to the “no” pile are spelling and grammatical errors. Don’t just spell check and trust your own proofing, get a friend to double check.
Study the job description then craft a brief cover. Make it easy to eye scan. Leave some white space and break up the contents with bullets. Use short high impact paragraphs describing the value you can bring to the organization. Let your personality shine through.
Close your letter with a sentence or two on why you want to work for the company by connecting your core values to their vision, mission statement or tag line. Bottom line, keep it simple, professional and edit, edit, edit to make it the perfect pitch. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog www.lifeonthesunnyside.net