The arrival of the holiday season can make a challenging job search process even tougher. Not only are job seekers stretched to the limits at this time (we all face the demands of the season, employed or otherwise), but hiring managers are also busy and easily distracted. Year-end reports are due, employee evaluations are taking place, and on top of these tasks and deadlines, a key position needs to be staffed. This means a giant stack of resumes waiting to be reviewed and interviews that have to be scheduled around competing responsibilities.
So in all this bustle and rush, how can you make sure your cover letter stands out and gets the attention it deserves? Try these simple moves.
1. Demonstrate awareness. Insert a line or two suggesting that you understand how busy your employers are during this time of year. This can show that you've done a bit of research and you know something about the company. At the very least, you understand this industry and its business cycle.
2. Explain how you'll make things easier and less stressful. Everybody loves an employee who makes problems go away. And everyone loves the candidate who's already looking for ways to make her potential boss's job easier. Instead of focusing on what a generally great person you are, emphasize how little training you'll need and how quickly you'll step in and become an asset.
3. Use a hook. When you're dealing with a busy or distracted audience, it's more important than ever to put your whole message into the first sentence. Grab your reader's attention from the start and say something that will encourage them to stay focused until the end.
4. Say something memorable. Cut through the clichés and boring rules and say something—anything—that can help a reader remember you after they put your resume down and walk away. Mention a unique aspect of your life story, or an unusual professional accomplishment that no other candidate can claim. That way, even if your reviewers don't remember your name, they'll remember "that guy who built his own boat," or "that lady who ran her own company," or "that girl who lived in the rainforest for a few months."
5. Follow up. No matter what details you choose to include in your cover letter, don't just sit back and expect your letter and resume to get the job done for you. Submit your application, wait for three days, and then send a polite email or phone message to request an update or confirmation of receipt. Make sure your message includes your name and contact information. If you don't hear back, wait a few more days and reach out again. It's entirely possible that your application is sitting in a file or email account somewhere, waiting until a hiring manager has time to look it over. Don't let it fall through the cracks.
A Great Resume Stands Out During Any Season
Most important, remember that a strong resume and a strong cover letter go hand in hand. The best way to get noticed, regardless of the season, is to frame your resume in a way that lets your credentials speak for themselves. Visit MyPerfectResume to make this happen.