Cover Letters :Are you telling them what they want to know?
Let's face it. Recruiters (or employers) are smarter than we think. Bigger organizations pay a hefty salary to their HR department to filter out and sieve through hundreds and thousands of resumes. The idea is to build an organization with people of the right mental aptitude. Most of the top organizations believe strongly in a motto - "People are their greatest assets". Your cover letter goes a long way in capturing and retaining the attention of these people whose main job is to recruit people and coordinate with the workforce.
A well-written cover letter engages the recruiter and pushes him to spend more time reading your detailed resume. Before you start off writing your cover letter, write down what you want to convey on a paper. Read it once, twice, thrice and then set off for a good start. Pack in as much power as you can, because it is these 400 or 500 words that can make the difference.
Have these things on your mind before you start off writing:
Keep your sentences short and avoid using really long sentences because you don't want the recruiter to read it twice to understand what you're trying to convey. Got the point.? Keep your sentences s-h-o-r-t.
Keep your language simple. "I take immense pleasure in applying for this esteemed position in this esteemed organization." Hell.! Your employer knows more about his organization than you do. So you can as well cut the "false" praise. Maybe a subtle mention can do wonders. "I look forward to work with JK Industries".
Organize the content of your cover letter into small paragraphs or bulleted points, not exceeding three paragraphs. Typically each paragraph can contain 3 or 4 sentences.
Do NOT use slang or spoken words like "Lookin' fo a kewl break into yo IT world".
Make sure your cover letter (and resume) is free from spelling or grammatical errors.
And most important: Deliver what the employer is looking for.
So, what should you put in your cover letter?
Ask yourself two questions. One, why should the employer choose you over others? And two, what can you give to the company that others cant? Skills, yes. Proven experience, better.
A good way to start writing is with the correct greeting phrase. If you know the name of the person you are addressing then you can start with 'Dear Ms. Stevenson' or 'Dear Mr. Washington'. Do not use their first names. A bad greeting would be 'Hi Jane' or 'Hello George'.
The first paragraph is to contain a reference. If this is a response to an advertisement or a vacancy listing, this is where you refer to get their attention. Alternatively you can put in a separate line mentioning your reference. (Ref: Your advertisement on Jobsite.com - Ref # 12345).
If you're mentioning your reference in the first paragraph, you can continue on to include why you applied for that position. A good way of connecting the reference to your application is "my skills and your requirement are a good match." Put that in your own words.
In the next paragraph, you justify your statement about why you think that your skills and the skills required for the position are a good match. Make a single line reference to a particular achievement in your current (or previous) job that is along similar lines so that the employer will know exactly what he's looking for. A good example would be "Set up a fully operational network of franchisees in Southern France for retailing ABC Coffee".
Avoid mentioning skills you don't have or projects you have never worked on. Because sooner or later, you're going to face it; when the interviewer looks into your cover letter (or resume) and says "OK, Mr. Stephens, can you give me an instance of how you can use XML to port data from a backend system into a Middleware application"? And that's when you mind starts racing, "XML?? Middleware?? Port..?? Is that my resume he's got..???". God bless you if it's not your resume.
If there are more achievements you want to include, write them down in bulleted points. It's easier for the employer to read, comprehend and get a good picture of your capabilities. Do not reproduce your entire resume here. 2 or 3 such points will do perfectly fine. Of course, do not include irrelevant achievements like "Won a Silver Medal in 200 x 4 Men's Relay Race conducted by Louisville Young Adults Club in 1991". Not unless you're applying for the post of a Physical Trainer or Coach.
You have made your point here. You know why you're applying. And recruiters like that. You know your responsibilities, the risks involved and the tasks you'll be handling. You're just the person they're looking for. At least, you're one of the persons they'd like to talk to before handing over the employment contract.
An ending note can make quite an impression. Tell them your resume is attached and that you're "looking forward to explore this opportunity further". Include an address and telephone number for them to contact you.
Sign off with a "Yours Truly" or "Best Regards" and put your complete name under it.
Get into form and write out your winning cover letter.
About The Author
Amit Pujar is a copywriter/technical writer currently heading the content department of an online publication. Amit writes on a variety of subjects and is currently working on his first non-fiction. He can be reached at email@example.com
Guidelines For Reviewing Writing by: The StoryMaster
Writing detailed reviews is time well spent.
Reviewing itself is a writing exercise. At Writing.Com, creating detailed feedback for a fellow writer is one of the best tools available for improving your own writing. That said, if you're going to spend the time to do it, helping the author is important. There is a better chance for the ideas in a review to get through to an author if they are well presented.
Key Characteristics For Reviews
* Reviews should be honest. Helping writers improve their craft should be the mission of any reviewer. Honest opinions are what help writers improve. Giving false feedback doesn't help anyone and can lead an author down a long road to bitter disappointment.
* Reviews should be encouraging. Everyone at every level should be encouraged to continue writing! Encouraging reviews are more likely to be used by an author which means the time creating the review was well spent. Whether the author decides to use the reviewer's honest suggestions or not, the review should be motivating and encourage the author to keep writing.
* Reviews should be respectful. Regardless of an author's level of skill or talent, a reviewer should always respect that the author is an individual person. A reviewer flaunting that they are better than the author they're reviewing is not respectful and is counter productive.
* Reviews should be well rounded. While honesty is very important, a review that points out only flaws without any mention of an item's positive points is not nearly as helpful to an author as a well rounded review with both positive and negative remarks. Don't forget, the same goes for reviews that only point out positives! Even the greatest pieces of writing have room for suggestions and opinions.
* The rating should reflect the review. If you're sending a review full of corrections, it's important to consider that with your star rating selection. 5.0's shouldn't need any corrections. On the other extreme, a 1.0 should have endless errors and you couldn't possibly list them all. Offering to return and rerate the item after a round of updates makes it more likely your suggestions will be considered.
* Reviews should make good use of color, bold and italics. When reviewing, presentation is very important! Color can be used to make corrections stand out or quote small portions of the work. Emoticons can highlight important points in the review and can be creatively used to make the review feel more friendly.
The Content Of A Review
Keeping in mind the six (6) points highlighted above, a review should contain your opinion. While grammatical, typographical and other errors can be included within a review, don't forget to tell the author how the piece made you feel. Give them your thoughts about the inside of their writing, not just the outside.
Some example questions you may ask yourself about the piece to help you get your opinion across are as follows: Did the plot interest you? Were the characters believable? Did the story fit the time, place and other setting characteristics? Is there anything you would change within the story?
Incorporating these thoughts within your reviews will expand your own analytical skills allowing you to better analyze your own writing. Whether the author agrees with any of your suggestions or ideas is not relevant. You have given them another perspective on their work they would not have otherwise had. They may hear the same thoughts from a number of different people which may give them a better understanding of their readers as a whole.
Use "copied and pasted" portions of the item you are reviewing as little as possible. Posting sections of an item within your review leads to "review bloating" and takes away from the impact your comments and suggestions will have on the author.
Your Own Review Format
Developing your own format for reviewing can be a great asset. Determine what aspects of writings you like to focus on most, create a short outline to follow and start reviewing. Following this process will help keep your reviews honest and consistent. As your experience grows, you'll find ways to improve your format and your skills.
Get into the good habit of using a custom tag-line of encouragement within your reviews. Including a "Keep Writing!" or something unique and individual within your reviews goes a long way to motivating an author. We know you mean it, so don't forget to say it!
Make Reviewing a Daily Creative Writing Exercise
Remember, reviewing grows your own writing skills unlike any other writing tool. Critically analyzing and reviewing others' writings makes a writer stop and think about what works and what doesn't. Putting that into words and communicating that to another writer, ultimately helps the reviewer to improve his or her own writing skills, as well. So it's about helping others, but it's a valuable way to help ourselves!
Have Fun & Happy Reviewing!
About The Author
The StoryMaster is WebMaster @ Writing.Com ( http://www.Writing.Com/ ). Established in 2000, Writing.Com is the online community for readers and writers of all ages and interests. Whether you're a casual reader searching for a good story or a creative writer looking for the perfect place to improve your skills, Writing.Com is the site for you!