Typical business protocol when job searching is to present a cover letter with ones resume. There are basic cover letters and then there are the cover letters that speak specifically to ones skill set. If you are applying for a job in a specific market that you have a strong skill set in, you don’t want to submit a generic cover letter. Your cover letter should be your selling tool prior to the hiring manager ever seeing your resume. The fact is you will need to customize your cover letter. This article will discuss the concept of how to writer cover letters to market your particular skills set.
The cover letter should first of all identify the applicant by name, address, phone contacts, and an email contact. This can be centered at the top of the page with the name highlighted in bold lettering.
You will next want to put an inside address to the hiring manager with his or her name, position, the name of the organization, the address, city and state.
As you prepare to customize your cover letter, your first paragraph should convey what you are looking for in terms of an objective. For instance if you are looking for a position where you might apply your formal education, professional experiences, and life experiences that might pertain to the position, explain this in the objective. This objective however is inclusive of the text that will show you how to write cover letters to market your particular skills set. Play up each element of education, and life and professional experience. Next specify your search for an organization that is flexible in accepting this approach. Basically spell out exactly what you are looking for. This is one way for both parties to determine whether or not the applicant is a fit for an organization. A cover letter can narrow down applicants as well as organization hence, alleviating a lot of wasted time for both parties. End your first paragraph in stating what your overall goal is in terms of their organization.
As you customize your cover letter, the next thing your want to point out is your specific skill set or area of education. Again this is your opportunity to use the cover letter to market your particular skills set. Simply state the specifics and then use a bullet format so that it will stand out. Specific areas of study include: and then list them. Next you will want to do the same thing with your areas of strength. Your strong areas are part of your skill set whether it is a learned tool or not. Again use a caption and then bullet points. Areas of strengths include: Team Player, Strong Organizational Skills, The ability to work under pressure, Strong Negotiating Skills, or whatever your strengths are.
The key here is that in writing your cover letter to market your particular skills set, you want to look at the position you are applying for, and play your skills up to qualify for the needs of the position. You of course always want to apply for a job you are qualified for. If you don’t have all of the skills but feel you have a strong skill set backed up by education, other experience or life experience, your cover letter is the place to convey that. A resume is pretty much statistical in terms of job description and responsibilities performed, however a cover letter marketed to your skill set can show a whole different side of your abilities. When you take the approach to customize your cover letter written to market ones skills sets can in fact convey potential that a resume may otherwise not convey.
Close your cover letter with a final paragraph stating your interest in a position that allows the use of the highlighted points you have mentioned, in addition to your solid business background. Indicate how you feel you have the ability to contribute and in what way. Cite your desire to develop further and the need to make a solid contribution to the organization. Most importantly sell yourself as a value added asset. Thank the hiring manager for reviewing your credentials and the opportunity to meet with him or her in the future. Finally, use a proper closing for a business letter followed by your name.
The next time you decide to switch careers, think about your strengths, even if these strengths were gained from hobbies or life experience, and convey them in the appropriate business language to include them in your business skill set. Take the time to customize your cover letter to each particular position you apply for. Carefully examine everything you can bring to an organization before using a basic, generic cover letter. You may find you already know how to customize your cover letters to market your particular skills set. In fact you may find there may be more talent to tap within yourself than you ever imagined. Good luck!