4 Tips for Using Your Cover Letter to “Sell Yourself” To Potential Employers

If you’re looking for a full time job, you know that it’s a job in itself. What you may not have realized yet? That it’s a sales job. You and your skills and experience are the product, and your job is to convince employers or hiring managers to choose you.

With hundreds or more other applicants possibly applying for the same position, how can you make a great first impression? With your cover letter!

Yes, a cover letter.  With the majority of applications today being submitted through e-mail, many candidates skip the cover letter. That’s a big mistake. A cover letter gives you your first chance to sell yourself as being uniquely qualified for the role. Here are four tips to consider when writing your next cover letter:

1) Make it personal

In order to “address for success,” personalize your cover letter by addressing it to the proper person—avoid generic salutations like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern.” You may have to be proactive, if a job posting doesn’t mention whom to contact, by calling the company to ask for the hiring manager’s name and title, the correct spelling of the name, and the person’s gender if it’s not obvious. This proves that you are serious about the position and will go the extra mile to obtain it.

2) Plan it out

Do your research on the position and the company before applying. Look into the company background and find out everything you can about the open position. Then target your sales pitch to this employer’s unique needs and corporate culture. A great way to structure your letter? Make a list of the top reasons you’re the best candidate for the job and incorporate this information in your cover letter. Base this approach on the information revealed in the job posting.

3) Keep it short

TV advertisers estimate they have about 30 seconds to get their messages across to potential customers. You’ll have even less time—six to 15 seconds—to get an employer’s attention.  They usually receive piles of applications for each job posting and don’t have time to read through a wordy, rambling letter. Make your cover letter comprehensive, concise and compelling. Talk about the company or job in the first few lines and explain how you are uniquely qualified. Include why the job interests you, request an interview, then thank the employer for his or her time.

4) Always be honest

While you want to make a positive first impression and land an interview, don’t stretch the truth to do so. Any lie or “minor” misrepresentations can come back to haunt you, even after you’ve landed the position.

Want us to be honest with you? If you’re in IT, the best thing you can do for your career is to contact the IT staffing specialists at Triumph.

By Jason Williams: Partner, Triumph Services. As head of the Sales Division of Triumph, he has helped hundreds of clients find the best talent.