Articles for Professionals

The First Rule of Cover Letters

Number-one

The first rule of Cover Letters:

It’s SINGLE purpose is to get an employer interested in your CV.

It is the first impression (apart from your email address) that an employer has of you.

Before I get into how you can make your Cover Letter work harder for you, I must address one consistently occurring oddity with many Cover Letters…

Keeping first impressions in mind, how often does anyone open a conversation (with someone they’ve never met before) with information about their marriage / divorce, kids or recent weight loss experience? Not often I’d wager, and yet this same information turns up in Cover Letters!?

Think of your Cover Letter the same way you think of dressing for an interview; It’s business, no matter the role – keep your business head on in all correspondence.

Now, recruiting managers see a lot of applications; a lot fail to address key criteria, others are too long – making a quick skim for key details nearly impossible, many are obviously generic and a regrettable few neglect to include any sort of Cover Letter at all!

So, it’s clear that with a little bit of effort, your Cover Letter can truly shine!

Address the criteria as requested in the job ad.

All ads provide key criteria. Some even include application criteria, that is, certain things that need to be addressed in your application (like sending your application in the form of an info-graphic).

Make sure that you’ve addressed each of these elements. Dot points are good – it makes it easy for an employer to find the key details they’re looking for.

Get to know the businesses culture.

Even among clubs that are part of a larger franchise, differences exist. Job ads (and web sites) may be generic, but social media (in particular, Facebook, Twitter) can provide the insight you need. The more you can learn about the events they run, the conversations that are taking place, philosophies, values, key people, etc. the easier it will be to create a Cover Letter that stands out.

Does the employer have a blog? If so, is there scope to comment in a way that contributes to the discussion? Don’t go nuts, but a well placed post or comment could do wonders for making a connection in the lead up to your application.

Don’t be ‘that guy’

You know, the one that uses the same, unchanged Cover Letter for every job ad.

It’s tempting, especially when you’re knee deep into a job search and cranking out multiple job applications a day. But I can assure you, it is always obvious when a candidate reuses a cover letter, even if there are no obvious mistakes (like writing the wrong contact name, company or job – we’ve seen them all).

Tailor each Cover Letter to suit different applications. Mention specific examples about why this is the place for you and why you are the perfect match for the team.

A great approach here is to name names. Did you know someone that worked there, had you heard of the role via someone you respect? Maybe you ran into someone that worked there / saw a manager speak at a recent industry event. Have you been following members of their team on Twitter? Mention a recent tweet / blog item / post.

The secret sauce

No matter the role in fitness, the following word is, for employers, like catnip is for cats…

SALES.

Whether it’s ‘sales experience’, ‘assisted in the sales process’, ‘undertook sales training’, ‘sales manager’, or any other such variation. Even if you are going for a role without a sales component, your ability to understand and contribute to the sales process will have fitness employers weak at the knees.

You’re welcome.

There you have it, the secret to a better Cover Letter. Throughout all of this, keep in mind the First Rule of Cover Letters – it’s about getting more face time for your CV. Your CV will then get you the interview, and only then have you got a shot at the job.

Regards,

Picture 15Dennis Hosking,
Managing Director,
HealthyPeople.com.au

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2 thoughts on “The First Rule of Cover Letters

  1. Sanjani says:

    Thanks a million for the great tips and ideas, it is really helpful and made me realize some of the most important things which we as applicants miss in our cover letter. This obviously is going to make a great difference in my next job application.
    Regards.
    Sanjani

    Like

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