Instead of customizing a cover letter, why not customize your resume? I use a two step process for my clients: 1) Fishing Resumes; and 2) Response Resumes.
[Subject: Normally bold, summarizes the intention of the letter] -Optional-
Dear [Recipients Name],
Thank you very much for your interest in my application. I am quite pleased to know that despite the limitations of the online job portal, you still found my profile engaging enough to contact me.
As such, I am attaching a copy of my resume for your perusal. I believe that I am qualified for the job you have posted because my experiences working for different companies in three different countries over the last ten years have made me very flexible and open to new paradigms.
Furthermore, I have sought to develop my skills and increase my knowledge out of my initiative. All of the certifications you will find in my resume were out of my efforts and not as a requirement by any of my previous employers.
I certainly hope that my qualifications meet your requirements. Thank you for considering me, and I look forward to speaking with you shortly.
[Senders Title] -Optional-
[Enclosures: number] - Optional -
cc: [Name of copy recipient] - Optional -
Further things to consider when writing cover letters to human resources
Cover letters are letters written to explain the contents of other documents. In most cases, cover letters are sent together with resumes to provide additional information on the applicant's' skills and experience. They explain in detail why the applicants are qualified for the job they are applying for. A cover letter creates a critical first impression as it is often the earliest contact you will have with a potential employer. Employees use cover letters to screen applicants for available positions and to determine the ones that they would like to interview.
Cover letters are an essential part of every job application. You, therefore, need to make sure that your cover letter sells your abilities and skills to recruiters. Do not just repeat what is on your resume, rather, explain in details why you feel that you are the best match for the applied job. Do this clearly and concisely, and in such a way that the recipient would want to meet you. Mention the employment position that you are applying for, how you learnt about it and how you are qualified for it. Request the recipient to contact you at the end of the letter.
Letters to human resources are letters written to the personnel or department that deals with administration, training, and hiring of employees in an organization. The role of human resources personnel is to handle everything from payroll to policy issues and legal grievances. If you have a policy or legal question, a personal issue that affects your work, or a serious problem with a colleague, the first person you may want to contact is a human resources representative. The best way to begin this conversation is by drafting a letter stating your specific problem.
When writing letters to human resources, make sure to follow all the rules of a formal letter. Start by addressing your letter to the right person. Write a clear subject line communicating your problem and indicating that action is needed. Set a formal and professional tone early in the conversation. Keep your sentences short and clear and avoid providing more information than is necessary. Describe the issue precisely giving a timeline of when it started. Explain what you have done or think can be done to address the issue. Request for an in-person meeting. Close on a note of anticipation to seeing the issue resolved.
You can't afford to waste valuable time and your resume could be contributing to the reasons your resume isn't getting a response. When you.
Again and again, job seekers tell me the same thing: “I've applied to countless jobs, and haven't heard back from any of them.” Of course there are always factors outside of your control, but there are quite a few things you can do to drastically improve your chances of getting a response.
Of course, it all starts with your resume. Here’s five ways to improve it:
1. Customize your resume for each job you're applying to.
Your resume gets just 6-9 seconds to convince a recruiter that you're the best fit for the job – a difficult feat made nearly impossible if you’re using the same resume for every position. Each time you apply for a job, you must:
Add the job title you're applying for next to your name at the top of your resume (ie, Julius Q. Holmes IV | Technical Writer).
Use terminology from the job description to help satisfy any Applicant Tracking Software employers may use (and which are known to eliminate 75 percent of applications).
Reinterpret your experience: If the skills cross over, don’t be afraid to change some of your previous job titles to match the job you're applying for.
Remove unrelated experience: Including job titles that have nothing to do with the role at hand makes you look like an amateur. (This isn't as relevant for entry-level applicants, as you don't want your resume to appear sparse.)
If you include a “Career Objective” (which I generally do not recommend), customize it for the specific job and keep it concise.
2. Widen your definition of “Professional Experience.”
Use volunteer work, community service, or even extra job responsibilities to demonstrate you have the skills needed. A recruiter looking for an HR manager should think, "This person is an HR manager," not, "This person might be able to fill the role of an HR Manager." For instance:
List relevant college classes and training you've gotten since. Applying for an HR manager role, I might include "Recruiting 101" and "Talent Sourcing" in a “Relevant Curriculum” section.
Include clubs and volunteer experiences that demonstrate relevant skills under the heading “Leadership Experience.”
Emphasize skills from your current job that translate to the job you're applying for. If I’m a bank teller trying to transition into an HR manager role, I could include my efforts recruiting interns at a local college.
Research the skills recruiters find most desirable for your target job. Watch instructional YouTube videos and practice independently, then add them to your “Skills” section.
3. Make sure bullet points are achievement-oriented.
For every bullet point, you should ask yourself, "So what?" (I guarantee every recruiter is asking the same question!) To write your resume from an achievement-oriented perspective, you must focus on what you accomplished rather than what you did:
Clearly demonstrate the impact your work has had on the organization, or on its clients, by being sure to include an achievement at the end of each bullet point.
Using resume “power words” (like accelerated, fulfilled, or negotiated) helps you avoid the same old clichés and demonstrate your true value.
Verifiable achievements are a huge advantage over common claims like "good team player," which beg the question, “Says who?” Include as many numbers as possible.
For example, take the statement, “Assisted IT team in upgrading company computer software.” Adding power words, numbers, and an achievement, you get something much more effective: “Directed 23 teams in testing 800 software upgrades, then collaborated with the IT Department to repair 400+ defects.” (Find more tips for effective bullet points here.)
4. Ensure your resume is easy to skim.
No one reads anymore: They skim. This includes recruiters, who look at your resume, on average, for just 6 seconds. That makes it imperative to communicate the important information in your resume as clearly and quickly as possible.
Make sure your margins and spacing are even, that there are no irregularities in text sizing or font usage, and that there are no spelling errors.
Bold the results in your bullet points (not the entire line) to ensure a recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over sees the most important points.
Adding color to your resume (strategically!) can make it easier to skim, and make your resume stand out amidst all those boring black-and-white documents.
Entry-level candidates must communicate their value in one page, while mid-to-senior-level candidates must restrict themselves to two pages.
5. Apply to fewer jobs.
The scattershot approach – applying to countless openings in the hopes of hearing back from a few – rarely works. Instead, focus on one set of related job titles. For example, I could apply for “technical writer,” “content writer,” and “copywriter” positions without having to make major adjustments to my resume each time.
Choose a set of related job titles you're going to be applying for.
Make sure your resume and Linkedin profile are optimized for a particular role.
Craft a cover letter that addresses any perceived weakness in your application, like being overqualified or work gaps.
For more help, you can download my free Resume Review Checklist here, and review your own resume like a pro.
Julius Q. Holmes IV is a resume writer, career development trainer, and founder of LordResume.
This article originally appeared in a slightly different form on LinkedIn Pulse.
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Look for informational interviews – You can learn a lot about the job market or even possibly make career-long connections by meeting with people in the industry. This is not the time to ask directly for a job. Instead, ask about any other people you might speak with as well as any jobs he or she might know about. And ask about them too!
Find people to network with – Use LinkedIn, career offices at any schools you attended, friends, relatives, former employers and coworkers, former teachers, even the internet to find people to connect with, including your informational interviews. More on job search networking:
Look for people inside companies – One of the best helpers in a job search is someone who actually works in the company. A resume forwarded by them has a lot better chance than a resume that comes unassisted into HR. Once again, the same resources listed above can help. But don’t pester them. Just give it your best shot. Maybe even find something you have in common as an ice breaker to your cover letter!
Search out jobs that aren’t obvious – Almost everyone uses the main job search engines like Monster and Indeed. By all means, use them too. But you also need to look where everyone is not looking. Some more tips:
Use social media – I mentioned LinkedIn already. If you aren’t using it, I suggest you create a profile asap. It’s also a great place to find connections. But there’s more to know about social media:
Check your credit report – Yup. Something this “small” could be interfering. Especially if you apply online and they do screenings in advance. Now it may be too early for this to be the reason, but why risk it? Se what you can do to help:
Get support and stay sane – Last but definitely not least, you need to keep yourself from getting the job search blues. Not only is it depressing, but it shows when you try to find a job. Support groups (some pros and cons) are one source of support. So is keeping busy. A few suggestions to help you stay sane:
Your first opportunity to make an impression is also your shortest: On average, your resume has less than 10 seconds to pique a hiring.
You’re about to see a killer resume follow-up email sample.
Better yet? You’re going to learn how to write one yourself.
Why is it so important? Think about this:
When following up on a job application, you’re treading on very thin ice.
No matter how you cut it, you’re about to ask the hiring manager a rather annoying question: “When will you make up your mind?”
You don’t want to seem too pushy or impolite. But not following up might mean another candidate will fill your spot.
Luckily, there are some proven ways of following up on a job application. Play it right and you’ll dramatically boost your chances of getting hired.
This guide will show you:
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[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now one page long, not three. With the same stuff.
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Already had your interview but still no response? Learn how to follow up from our handy guide: Follow-Up Email after an Interview: 10 Samples & Templates That Work
So you’ve submitted your resume. Congratulations. But it’s just the beginning of the hiring process.
The first step is the hardest:
It’s frustrating, I know. Yet you have to give the employers some time to review your application before you can follow up.
And yes, follow-ups are more than OK. A recent study asked how long should a job seeker wait to follow up with the hiring manager after submitting a resume. The answers?—
When to follow up on a job application?
There’s no fixed rule, but in general: no sooner than a week after submitting your resume.
Two weeks and no reply? Now you definitely have to follow up.
Pro Tip: Before you follow up, have another look at the job posting. Sometimes employers explicitly state that they do not want you to reach out to them to ask about your application status at this stage. In other cases, the exact response date is provided in the job ad. Play by the rules. Following up before the due date will be rude at best and will hamper your chances of landing the job at worst.
Alright, so you’ve waited. It’s been a week or two since you applied and there’s still no answer. Game on!
Here’s how to follow up on a job application in 6 easy steps:
Don't have any contacts in the company?
Let’s see how it works in practice.
Hello [Hiring Manager’s Name],
Last week, I applied for the position of [position title]. I would like to kindly ask you if you could provide me with your decision timeline.
I am very enthusiastic at the prospect of joining your team and leveraging [your specific skills, knowledge, and experience] to help you [what profit you’d bring to the company].
Please let me know if you need any more details about my application. I look forward to speaking with you and sharing my ideas on how to help you with your upcoming challenges.
[Your LinkedIn profile]
[Your phone number]
You might feel tempted to try and impress the hiring manager by sending an old-school follow-up letter after an application, but it’s really not a good idea.
We’re living in a digital age where good communication means fast communication.
A paper follow-up letter for your job application status can reach the hiring manager too late to make any difference or, worse yet, it might be treated as some unsolicited junk mail and never get opened.
Writing a resume follow-up email is definitely your best option.
Another week gone and still no response?
Hello [Hiring Manager’s Name], my name is [Your Name]. I submitted my application for the [XYZ] position two weeks ago. I just wanted to make sure you received it and to let you know that I’m still interested in the position. I’d love to talk with you about how I can help you with your upcoming challenges. If you need any additional information, please let me know.
The study cited before also found that 46% of hiring managers prefer to be contacted by email, however, 39% were open to follow-ups by phone. Why?
Working professionals get hundreds of emails every day (122 on average, to be precise).
Your job application and your follow-up might have gotten lost in the hiring manager’s inbox (somewhere between a newsletter she barely cares for and an internal email about a corporate Christmas Eve.)
A quick phone call will help you solve this problem.
By the way, it’s plain rude not to respond to any of your follow-ups. If a company doesn’t treat you with respect now, why expect them to do it once you start working with them?
Remember, there’s plenty of fish in the sea, so...
Even if you think you’ve found a perfect job for you, don’t give up on applying to other companies while waiting for the response.
Don’t obsess over one job posting. No matter how great a candidate you are, you might not make it for reasons beyond your control.
Already interviewed and want to write a perfect interview follow-up email? Have a look at our dedicated guide and learn how to make the most of it: How to Write a Thank You Email After an Interview (+10 Examples)
There’s one instance in which you don’t have to worry about timelines, employer preference or waiting “long enough”.
It’s when you’re offered a position with a different company, but still haven’t heard back from your top pick.
If such is the case, follow up straight away.
Message your dream employer and tell them:
Sound like too much of a gamble?
Well, it might be. But sometimes it’s worth it.
Here’s a personal story—
I got my current job solely because of the right follow-up.
I received another offer, but didn’t really want it. What did I do?
Here’s the key: I provided value.
I wrote a sample article for the Zety blog. Then I attached it to the following email message:
Please excuse my bothering you. I’ve just received a job offer which I’ll be happy to turn down if you’d care to have a look at my writing and give me a go.
Please find attached a sample article for your blog. Free of charge! Let me know what you think.
The following day I got one of the shortest emails I’ve ever read: “When can we schedule an interview?”
Trust me, this strategy can work out for you as well. But remember: if you do it, you have to give your prospective employer a sneak peek of your skills.
Make them realize that they cannot afford to miss out on you.
Pro Tip: Not getting interview invites? Recruiters and hiring managers look up candidates on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Your online presence might be to blame. When looking for a job, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you’re not sharing anything inappropriate or unprofessional across your online accounts. Read our guide to make the most of your LinkedIn profile: How to Check Your Online Presence Before Recruiters Look You Up.
Want to learn how to email a resume the right way and get ahead of your competition? Read our guide: How to Email Your Resume to Get More Job Offers (Examples)
The job application follow-up has two purposes. First of all, to remind the hiring manager about your candidacy. Secondly, to help you put an end to the dreadful uncertainty.
Has my job application reached the hiring manager? Have they already seen my resume?
Guess what: you don’t have to ask yourself these questions.
There’s an easy way to know if and when your resume has been opened.
First of all, you can start tracking your emails by using free email tracking software such as MailTag.
Sure, knowing that your resume email has been opened doesn’t guarantee that the hiring manager has actually read your resume. But you’ll be able to make an better informed decision about following up.
Then again, there’s one more thing you can do.
Make an online resume and include the link in your job application email.
Imagine you no longer have to ask “Have you, by any chance, seen my resume already?”
You’ll know exactly when to follow up and what to say.
Following up on job applications might feel awkward, but it’s expected of you. Don’t think you’re “bothering” the hiring manager - you really aren’t.
What’s more, a proper follow-up can dramatically boost your chances of landing the job. Here’s a quick recap of the key things to remember.
Do you have any additional questions on what to say when following up on a job application? Want to learn more about writing resume follow-up emails? Give us a shout in the comments and we’ll answer you questions.
How do employers react when they find a great resume in their applicant pool? This week, we reached out to our professional contacts to get some answers.