Stratford Office: 203-386-8800 | Stamford Office: 203-325-3799

Does Your Cover Letter Stand Out?

November 27th, 2015

Your cover letter provides an introduction and an element of context for your resume. When you apply for a specific job, your resume will do the heavy lifting—this formal document will serve as a fact sheet that can help potential employers skim through your credentials, assess your basic readiness for the job, and compare your profile to those of other candidates. But your cover letter will support your resume the way a frame supports a painting.

Your letter will provide life, dimension and depth to your education and work history. And if you manage to send a strong message, your letter will set you apart from the crowd. Here are a few ways to create a letter that stands out and shines a bright spotlight on the rest of your application.

Start with a smooth opening paragraph.

Don’t begin your letter with an apology (I’m sorry for wasting your time), a corny joke, or a rambling, confused preamble. Just begin with grace and confidence. State who you are, the position you’re applying for, and how you found out about it. If you share a personal connection with your reader, now is the perfect time to say so.

Learn the rules; then break them.

After your opening paragraph, you’ll need to explain more about your background and why you—specifically—should be hired for this job instead of someone else. Most candidates will simply summarize their work history in two paragraphs and then close with a stiff, polite sign-off. That’s fine, but if you want to stand out, tell your story in your own words, on your own terms.

Remove every sentence that applies to most job seekers.

Quickly skim through your letter and take out every sentence that applies to everyone, not just to you. Remove sentences like: “I’m a hardworking professional” and “I really think you should hire me.” Everyone can say this. Focus on the details that set you apart.

Take one more look at your customization.

If you’re like most job seekers, you’re using a template cover letter and tailoring your words for each employer you pursue. This is a fine method, but it’s a recipe for easy typos and mistakes. Take one last look to make sure your letter is addressed to the right company and reflects this company’s specific needs and job requirements.

Read your letter aloud.

This last step might take three minutes, but it can help you catch rough sentences and vastly increase your chances of impressing employers with your wit, professionalism, and fluid writing style.

For more on how to create a cover letter that sends a unique, and memorable message, consult with the job search experts at Merritt Staffing.

Four Things Your Interviewer Wants You To Know

May 22nd, 2015

As you sit down across the desk from your interviewer (who may become your future boss if all goes well) you may not know exactly what they are thinking and what they want to get out of this experience. As your conversation moves forward, their expectations will become clearer, but for now, here are a five things most interviewers want you to know. This list may help clear up some of the mystery.

Your Interviewer Wants You to Succeed

Your interviewer is not trying to undermine your chances of landing this job. They are not trying to start an adversarial conversation with you, and they don’t believe that one of you can benefit only at the expense of the other. They are not trying to poke holes in your story, and they definitely are not trying to embarrass you, trip you up, or create an awkward scene. Nobody wants that. Ideally, they want both of you to enjoy this conversation and see the best in each other. In fact, they’re hoping that the interview goes so well that they can bring this selection process to an end and make a hiring decision.

The Interviewer Wants Your Help

A positive, successful conversation requires the combined effort and input of two people. The interviewer doesn’t fully expect you to take over, of course…But in a perfect world, that’s exactly what will happen. Ideally, they won’t have to keep prompting you and coaxing you to speak; instead, you’ll take the reins and start explaining how you’ve researched the company and decided that this job offers everything you’re looking for. You’ll explain what you know about the position and you’ll list all the ways in which you’re a perfect match. In the best case scenario, the interviewer will able to just sit back and listen.

The Interviewer Wants to Trust You

Before every interview you attend, regardless of your industry, imagine your interviewer as a first-time business owner who runs a corner store and needs to hire an employee to take on tasks that they are used to completing. Or just as effective, imagine them as a parent trying to choose a care provider for their young children. In both scenarios, your interviewer needs to feel a sense of deep, visceral trust in order for the interview to be a success. This trust has to come from the core, it should feel instinctive, and it should be based on a combination of intuition and body language, not just facts and credentials.

She Knows that You’re Nervous

Your interviewer knows that you’re nervous about this meeting, and that’s okay. They are perfectly willing to see past this (in fact, they expects some nerves). But they need you to do the same. Don’t worry about concealing your nervous energy…Just don’t let it control your behavior. Stay focused on the conversation and you’ll be fine.

For more on how to ace your next interview and land the job you need, reach out to the experienced job search professionals at Merritt.

© Year Merritt Staffing. Site Credits.