You've fired off dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of resume/cover letter combos. And you've heard nothing back. Nothing. Cricket cricket. Cricket cricket.
Pretty damned frustrating, isn't it?
And it's quite easy to get mad at Corporate America, the government, your spouse, your dog and the whole freaking world when this happens.
But chances are...when you're firing off resume/cover, resume/cover, resume/cover, resume/cover and NEVER getting called for an interview?
You are failing at a critical step in the process. You. Not the world, you.
But this is actually good news. Because once you realize this? You have control over fixing it. Can't fix government so easily. But you most certainly can fix your resume and cover letter.
So where are you going wrong?
Chances are, your cover letter is too vague, too generic, too vanilla. And the hiring manager just isn't making the connection on how what you offerwill directly resolve what they need.
They have a need. They're hiring someone to fulfill it.
And they are not psychics. So if you fire off something vague, generic and vanilla -- EVEN IF YOU ARE THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT MATCH for the job? You're really just wasting your time, spinning your wheels, wearing yourself (and your keyboard) out.
This is not a numbers game. I don't care what anyone tells you. It's about making it abundantly clear to a potential employer why you are the perfect match. It's about customizing. Every time. Ease up on the machine gun spray method, and start using the rifle.
Of course, I am happy to write your cover letter for you. Mine lean on the outstanding side, and for people like Mike A. and Dave P., have resulted in near-immediate interview invites. But if you're more the cover letter DIY type? I present...
JobJenny's Secret Cover Letter Formula
- Research the company/industry and customize a few key bullet points in the first part of the document that demonstrate succinctly : a) I truly understand what you do, b) I offer directly relevant skills and experience, and c) I am pursuing this opportunity for these very clear reasons.
- Study the job description and cater the strengths you call out in the letter directly to what they're seeking. Tell them what you're best known for. And gee, even better, make sure that "what you're known for" aligns perfectly to what they seem to be seeking (don't lie. do not.)
- Do not rehash the resume. You're sending them the resume, too, right? So do you think they need two versions of it, just written in a different format? No they do not. Use the square footage of this cover letter to your advantage. Connect the dots for the hiring manager. Showcase a little personality. Customize.
- Try like hell to find an actual contact name for each opportunity as opposed the old standby "To whom it may concern." This further demonstrates that you researched the company, you know your way around the Internet, and that you cared enough to speak directly to that person. Linkedin is good for this, and (obviously) Google.
- Oh, and did I mention? Customize.
Don't make potential employers try and decipher how you could-maybe-possibly-perhaps meet their specific needs. Because they won't.
Make it obvious.