You Won’t Get What You Don’t Ask For
You’ve heard this phrase: “You get what you ask for.” Usually, it’s a tongue-in-cheek way of telling listeners they did something thoughtless.
The flip side is also true. You won’t get what you don’t ask for, particularly in the context of the interview. In that sense, your cover letter, your initial communication with a hiring manager, should clearly ask for a meeting during which you can elaborate on your unique skills sets.
Cover Letter Templates Fail
I am constantly amazed by the cover letter templates on sites purporting to deliver expert advice. I did a quick Google search for “free cover letter sample.” The sample letters I dug up miss major opportunities to rise to the top of the stack. Primarily, they’re extremely generic. They don’t set the focus outward onto ways the applicant can solve the hiring manager’s pain. And they don’t ask for the interview.
When you present unassuming, generic language in your letter to a hiring manager, you’re presenting yourself as unfocused and unsure of your goal. In the current economy, where unemployment rates drive up applications for coveted spots, the hiring manager isn’t going to take the time to figure out what you have to offer. It’s up to you to clearly state your expertise—and your desire to meet this hiring manager for this position. You’ll sound educated about the potential role and focused about your ambitions.
Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Use Your Cover Letter Effectively
Every word on your resume counts—it’s the same for your cover letter. Don’t miss the opportunity to ask for what you want. Don’t expect the reader to assume that you’re the most eager, the best qualified, and the most likely to succeed in the position. Give them what they need to draw your resume out the stack: a sharply presented, clearly stated request for the interview. After all, this is the point of your resume/cover letter package—to get you in for a face-to-face, so you can show the hiring manager that you will succeed in your target role.
I welcome comments and questions on this article, either here or to .
Amy L. Adler, Career Search Strategist, is the president and founder of Inscribe / Express, a career search strategy and resume writing company. She prepares resumes, cover letters, post-interview thank you letters, executive profiles, and other critical career documents on behalf of clients at all levels of employment. Credentialed as a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Amy has earned a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology and Strategic Management as well as a Master of Arts in Publishing. Contact Amy at (801) 810-JOBS or email@example.com.