In case you missed it, I wrote Part 1 in this job seeker series, which was about how to leverage the experience you have for an opportunity you’re striving toward. Tips in that blog post include resume best practices, how to turn your professional acquaintances into job references and making a lasting impression on hiring managers.
Part 2: The Cover Letter
This is your chance to tell people what you think is important.
I know cover letters aren’t anyone’s favorite thing to write. However, as someone who reads through a lot of resumes and cover letters, it really does give me a chance to learn more about you. Your cover letter may be similar for each job you apply to with minor tweaks, but it’s a good opportunity to showcase what is important about you and why a company should choose you over another candidate.
A cover letter is your extra chance to get your foot in the door and make yourself stand out.
Connecting and providing more context about your experience can help.
What I’m always looking for in account coordinators, managers and interns: I want to know how you can help me and help Smith Kroeger.
You don’t realize this until you start your job, but at an agency, it’s one big group project. And it is a big group project that never ends. Everyone pulls their weight, contributes and plays on their strengths. Convince me why I should put you in my group projects.
Tell a story.
Is there a particular problem, challenge or way you proved value in the past? Share that experience. Paint a picture. People remember stories more than they remember bullet points.
A good story can take a mediocre resume and cover letter into one that is worth consideration.
Avoid this mistake: Making it about you.
This can be a hard pill to swallow but, at this point in the application process, this job opportunity is not about you. It should be about the company. Instead of saying “This job will help me learn more about marketing and grow my capabilities,” use your cover letter to convince the hiring manager why you would be the best choice for the open position.
Make it about how you can help them, not how they can help you.
Bonus Tip: Outreach
Don’t skip this critical step! Sometimes it pays to simply send someone a message. First, consider the following:
- Determine what kind of job you want.
- Figure out what kind of place you want to work for.
- Research companies, make a list.
- Clean up your LinkedIn, social media.
- Create opportunities for yourself – just reach out.
I leave you with this: Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the industry who you admire and ask them about their experiences. Someone will eventually answer back and it will always be helpful. Don’t be afraid to follow up (once or twice – after at least one week). Don’t be afraid to be persistent and put yourself out there.
Follow us on LinkedIn so you can read our future blog posts and know when we’re hiring for new roles here at Smith Kroeger.