Cover Letters that Get you the Job

A Recruiter's Perspective

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Cover Letters that Get you the Job
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About the Author

Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a Partner, Recruitment Solutions for a major human resources consulting firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Although she has been recruiting for quite a few years, she still gets a big thrill from calling someone to set up an interview and an even bigger thrill when she hears a happy dance as she tells them when their new job starts. Laura lives with her family in Oakville, where she has lived for over 25 years, and is a significant contributor to the Canadian Federation of University Women - Oakville and Women in Nuclear, Golden Horseshoe Chapter.

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Cover letters are an important part of a job application. Although, to be fair, they won’t actually get you the job. At their best, they will get you that first phone call.

Tip Number 1

Read the posting carefully. If it gives you specific instructions, like asking you to explain why you want the job or where you volunteer, then make sure this is included. If they want specific salary information, I would be a little vague. It’s pretty tough to provide a salary without considering the back story but you could satisfy it by giving a salary range.

Tip Number 2

Keep it short. This is not the place to tell your life story. You want just enough information to entice the reader to take a look at your resume. Reference the job title and where you saw it or, even better, who referred you.

Tip Number 3

Make it relevant. Make some neat points about how your experience matches what they are looking for. (hint: if you can’t draw a nice parallel, perhaps this is not the role for you) Again, keep it concise. The reader should be able to read it on their mobile device in two thumb scrolls or less. You will lose them after that.

Tip Number 4

Make sure to include your contact information and a link to your profile on LinkedIn so that the reader can get a bigger view of your place in the sphere.

Tip Number 5

Send your letter to three people for editing and proof reading. You don’t have to use their editing suggestions but you definitely have to make sure that the spelling and grammar are perfect. A spelling mistake is the fastest way to send your resume to the trash can. And you can’t depend on Microsoft to save your ass on this one. You need human eyes to do this.

The cover letter is how you make your first impression – make it count!



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