Cover letters – Helping You Get the First Impression Rose (aka Interview)

Erin Pope

OK – so, I’m not an avid watcher of the Bachelor, but I know enough to understand the first impression rose. The contestant who had a great first impression on the bachelor/bachelorette receives the coveted first impression rose.

The same goes for cover letters and resumes. A good cover letter/resume will ultimately land you a call back or interview. Here are a few tips on creating a stand-out cover letter.

  1. The hiring manager has a name. Find it. I read an article that was spot on with regard to addressing the cover letter. You have multiple search engines at your fingertips and a wonderful site called LinkedIn, so finding a hiring manager’s name can be done within minutes. If you’re having trouble, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask.
  2. Tailor-made. If you’re applying for multiple jobs, your cover letter should not be a one-size-fits-all document. Tailor your cover letter to the specific job/position. Plus, the job description should include characteristics the company is looking for – probably a good idea to include a few of those characteristics if they fit your work style and/or personality.
  3. Short and sweet. I can admit it. I enjoy talking about myself and my work – most of us do. That said, don’t use your cover letter to divulge your life story. Keep it short and to the point while letting your personality shine through.
  4. Confidence vs. cocky. It’s a great feeling when you read a job description and it sounds like the position was made for you. Before you go on and on about how great you are, take a step back and make sure you’re exuding confidence and not sounding cocky or arrogant.

For more tips, take a listen to the podcast I helped out with for PRSSA. (Side note. I am now well aware that I need to work on my ‘um’s.’)

Inside scoop on the podcast. This is a great program developed by a PRSSA student right here in Ohio. Joe Clarkson, senior PR major and member of PRSSA at Ohio Northern University, is the vice president of Internships/Job Services of PRSSA. He created this monthly podcast, Intern Talk, to help educate students on important topics like job search, internships, resumes, etc. Joe interviews PR professionals about different career-oriented topics and then shares them on the PRSSA blog.

Do you have any other helpful tips?

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Erin Pope

Erin Pope

Senior Account Executive at Fahlgren Mortine

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  • Brooke Chavdar

    Great piece, Erin! I saw that it was posted yesterday on PR Daily. Congrats. :)

  • http://twitter.com/epope Erin Pope

    Thank you, Brooke! Yes, pretty exciting that it got picked up by Ragan.