Targeting Your Cover Letter
Introduction - Why you are writing
The first section of cover letters for job changes should clearly state why you are making contact. If responding to an advertisement or posting, start this section by stating where you saw the job and the date it was advertised. Also include a job or reference number. For example:
“In response to your ad for a Structural Architect (ref. 2354), posted on Monster.com 14 April 2011, I would like to express my interest and detail why I'm the perfect fit.”
And, remember... when responding to advertisements, follow instructions! Pay attention to whether you should be making personal contact, emailing or mailing your information, or filling out an application on the company website.
If writing to an individual referred to you by a network connection, indicate where, or from whom, you got the individual's name.
Body - What you have to offer
When writing a resume or CV cover letter, the second section should convey why you are the ideal candidate for the job.
Begin by reading the advertisement carefully to identify keywords and the selection criteria for the role. If you can, have conversations with recruitment consultants or company recruiters to learn what they deem most important.
Next, match each trait they are looking for with an example of how you have successfully handled something similar. For example, if the company is looking for a marketing professional with experience launching new products, describe a multi-channel product launch you managed. Did you hit the deadline and budget? Did product sales exceed expectations? Did you overcome any market pressures? Give concrete examples of positive outcomes to illustrate your skills and expertise.
If your cover letter is for a personal or networking contact, keep it a bit more personal. For example,
“I have taken the liberty to attach (or enclose) my CV which details my experience providing import / export services to China. Our mutual friend Fred Smith told me that your company specialises in providing similar services to South American countries. I was wondering if you have ever thought of expanding into the Far East / Chinese markets? Would you be open to a conversation on the matter?”
Conclusion - How to follow up
Conclude your cover letter by sincerely restating your interest in the job. Provide contact details so you are easy to reach. For example:
“I look forward to discussing how I can help take COMPANY to the next level. I can be reached at (mobile number).”
A proactive conclusion might look like:
“Based on my proven successes, I am anxious to bring similar efficiencies to COMPANY. I will call you early next week to follow up, and answer any questions you may have.
Your mobile number”