Once you have prepared your master resume, it is now time to move onto perfecting your cover letter which is often considered to be a more important way of capturing an employer’s interest. It is important to make sure you are using it as an opportunity to make an impact.
The cover letter is invaluable as it gives you the opportunity to establish why this role appeals to you, why you want to work for this particular business, and outline skills that are relevant to the job advertisement and description. Points of differentiation become very important, what sets you apart, what you can bring to the table and what additional value you can bring to the role and the company.
Be sure to address the job description point by point and demonstrate how you satisfy the criteria and match each requirement listed. Mirror the job to show you are perfect for the role, and express why you want to work for that particular company, this will certainly give you the best chance at a job interview.
First Time Job Seekers
Attempting to write the perfect cover letter is always a challenge, but attempting to write the very first cover letter of your professional career can really feel like a monumental task. A well thought out cover letter will show potential employers that you are a motivated candidate and place high value on their employment opportunity.
The quality of your cover letter will ultimately have a powerful impact on the success and the duration of the job search. However, you can always get assistance at every stage of this process, and you are always able to revise and rewrite your letter in order to improve and fix what isn’t working. It is important to keep in mind the cover letter serves as a writing sample and will demonstrate to employers that you can communicate effectively and logically.
Reference The Specific Position
In your first paragraph, begin by referencing the specific position you are applying for, or at least the category of job you would like to be considered for. A tone of enthusiasm and a strong statement of interest should be reflected in your first paragraph. Some candidates use a brief thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph to demonstrate their interest and summarise their fit for the position.
At first you should state why you are perfect for the position and ensure the sentence that follows explains why. What do you have to offer this company and what new can you bring to the team? Focus on the specific traits requested in the job description and move on to describe the traits you possess that other candidates might not have. Choose your assets which correspond most closely to the requirements for the job. Your assets can be a TAFE course qualification, a degree, skills, coursework, knowledge, experiences, personal qualities, awards, motivations and interests. Next, put each asset into a phrase to reference how you have used that strength to succeed in a role or project, this will form the core of your letter.
Briefly Summarise Professional Background
Considering this is your first cover letter, your work experience may be limited, but that is not an issue. A great option is to focus on your studies and internships and anything else in your work history, for instance, work experience that will be of interest to your employer.
Draw Attention To Your Resume
Use your final paragraph to attract your employer’s attention to your resume and close in an appreciative way. Leave your reader with a polite and simple call to action, for example. “I invite you to review my resume for more information about my experiences and background’. Finally, make sure you use a strong closing to reaffirm your strong level of interest and belief that the position is an excellent match.
Mature-age Job Seekers
Getting a job can be a tough experience for anyone, but it is even more challenging for older workers. Despite mature age workers facing certain challenges when looking for a new role, there are some key ways to maximise the change of job search success. Don’t let your age be an issue when you’re job searching. Here are some ideas to address age issues when looking to write the perfect cover letter.
Don’t Include Years of Experience
Try not to list the length of experience you have in your cover letter. Older workers are justifiably proud of their work histories and have a strong tendency in cover letters to make statements stating you have 20 or 30 years of experience but this will immediately flag you as an older candidate. Only list your employment history up to the last 10-15 years and focus on skills and experience most relevant to the position. If your university degree and relevant professional development courses were not completed within the last 10 years and are specific to the position you are applying for it is important to include this but avoid specifying dates. Avoid using terms like wealth of experience or worked for many years, there is no need to promote this information in this way and stick to expressions such as “significant experience” or “extensive experience.’
Do Emphasis Your Related Experience
Your cover letter is to prove to your potential employer of the experience you have, which a less experienced candidate may not have. Ensure you specify how your experience is related to the job you’re employing for, the more specific you are, the more relevant a candidate you will be. However, in some instances it may be a suggestion to soften job titles so you do not seem overqualified, for example you might want to state you were a “senior manager” instead of “vice president”. Additionally, if you have any periods away from employment, include this in your cover letter highlighting the skills you gained during that time.
Don’t Include Personal Details
Avoid specifying personal details such as your marital status or date of birth. Simply adding your name, address, phone number and email are sufficient enough. Additionally, try to avoid writing an autobiographical style letter or one that relays your entire job history, this can be harmful to older workers who will only call attention to their age with such a letter.
Address Your Flexibility
Ignoring ageism exists does not eliminate it. Many worry that age indicates the potential candidates skills are out of date or perhaps they are not energetic enough for the job. If you are an older worker who has been in the same job or company for many years, emphasise the transferability of the many skills you have acquired. If you have had a variety of different jobs, demonstrate your adaptability, flexibility and ability to learn new techniques and structures as this will show you as younger and eager.
Emphasise you are a proven commodity compared to a younger worker who may be untested and stress your interpersonal skills and your ability to work with people of all ages. Most importantly, try to inject some personality and enthusiasm into the cover letter and highlight how you are keeping your skills and current knowledge up to date so the interviewer feels compelled to call you in for an interview.
No matter the previous positions you have had, your resume must confront any reservations the prospective employer may have in regards to your technical aptitude. A concern employers have about hiring older workers is the worry they haven’t kept up to date with technology. It is important not to shy away from this area, show what know, whether it is an impressive list of certifications or a simple mention of office productivity software, it is all relevant and shows your competencies.
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