WRITING A WINNING COVER LETTER


Guest writer: Arome Abikiaje

WRITING A WINNING COVER LETTER
In today’s extremely competitive job market, employers don’t have to waste time on those who are just going to state the obvious and not use an opportunity to highlight their skills and strengths and how they will perform incredibly well on the role they are applying for.
In writing a cover letter that will make an employer smiles and give a call, you must understand that employers want to see that:
1. You have relevant skills that distinguish you from others

2. You can incredibly deliver on the job role.

3. You are likable and can easily fit into the environment.

These are the three primary factors that influence the selection process. The person who wins that great job will be the one who shows the decision makers, quickly, that he or she has all the three of those things. And you have an amazing opportunity to begin planting these seeds right from the introduction,
How do you include these in your cover letter?
To pull off a winning cover letter, one that conveys passion and talent and that makes the recruiter or hiring manager’s day, Make sure you do the following:

1. Specifically tell them why you are Interested in the company

Decision makers are not interested in seeing the duplicate of your CV. They want to see something special and specific. You need to make it clear that you are approaching this organization for very specific reasons. And ideally, not the same very specific reasons that everyone else may be giving.
Take for example, if you are applying to NESTLE Nigeria Plc you can try a high-personality lead like this: “Having grown up with the nourishment of Nestle Milo in my early years up till date, I understand firsthand how you have earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly beverages companies in Nigeria. For over 15 years, I have been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team have so graciously done for me.”

2. Outline what you can walk through their doors and deliver
This is not about you making a general proclamation of, “Hey, I’m great. I am a performer” You need to scrutinize the job descriptions and use whatever other information you have gathered about the opening, determine the key requirements and priorities for this job, and make it instantly clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things.
Example: Consider crafting a section within the letter that begins with, “Here’s what, specifically, I can deliver in this role.” And then expound upon your strengths in a few of the priority requirements for that role (they are typically listed first on the job description or mentioned more than once). (Forbes.com)

3. Address the letter to an actual Person within the company

Not one employee at your future new company is named To Whom it May Concern,” so knock that off. You’ve got to find a real person to whom you can direct your letter. This seems so hard or overwhelming, but it’s often easier than you may think. Just mosey over to LinkedIn and do a People search using the company’s name as your search term. Scroll through the people working at that company until you find someone who appears to be the hiring manager. If you can’t find a logical manager, try locating an internal recruiter, the head of staffing or, in smaller companies, head of HR. Address your masterpiece to that person. Your effort will be noted and appreciated.
In doing this, bear in the employers’ instructions on how the letter should be addressed.

4. Give you letter a good final paragraph (End well)

A weak, halfhearted ending to a cover letter can leave the employer wondering whether you’re really the right fit for the job. On the other hand, a well-written, positive final note can lead straight to an interview. The final paragraph should include a word of thanks, a strong closing sentence, and information about the next steps.
For example: aside the skills and qualifications described above, there are many others listed on my attached CV that I am sure will make me a great fit for this job role. I also welcome an opportunity to further discuss how my skills and expertise will be of great value to the company.
Make sure your final paragraph matches your overall tone.

All the best.

Some ideas and quotes were taken from:
http://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/what-an-employer-wants-from-your-covering-letter-steve-szita
http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/02/06/the-cover-letters-that-make-hiring-managers-smile-then-call-you/
http://www.wikihow.com/End-a-Cover-Letter

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